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SIGNED! Another Round of Priority Health Care Bills Become Law

DENVER, CO – Today, the governor signed several health care bills into law that aim to lower the cost of life-saving medication, support seniors in need, expand access to mental health care, and protect consumers’ health care data. 

HB21-1307, sponsored by Senators Kerry Donovan and Sonya Jaquez Lewis, increases access to insulin by clarifying that the current $100 cap on a person’s monthly insulin supply applies regardless of the number of prescriptions a person may have. It also allows eligible consumers to access one emergency prescription insulin supply for no more than $35 per 12-month period. 

“Over the past ten years, insulin costs for patients in Colorado have risen 262%,” said Senate President Pro-Temp Kerry Donovan (D-Vail)“Those price increases have very real and severe consequences - in 2020 nearly 74,000 Coloradans who rely on insulin for diabetes, reported rationing their medication, or fasting to manage their blood sugar because they couldn’t pay for their prescription. Big pharma is concerned with their profits, while patients for whom insulin is like oxygen, suffer. In Colorado we are saying no more. This law means immediate access to insulin for everyone who needs it in every corner of the state.”   

“Insulin is a necessary, life-saving drug that should be accessible regardless of income,” said Senator Jaquez Lewis (D-Boulder County)“As a Pharmacist, I have seen the pain in people’s eyes when they can’t afford their medications – forced to choose between providing for their family and caring for their own health. It's time that we prioritize people over corporations and ensure that everyone, no matter their socioeconomic status, can access the prescriptions they need.”

SB21-158, a bill sponsored by Senators Jessie Danielson and Brittany Pettersen, would expand access to medical providers in certain regions of the state to make it easier for seniors to access medical care. 

“Throughout Colorado, seniors struggle to access the care they need, which is not only dangerous to their health but indicative of unacceptable neglect of our community elders,” said Senator Jessie Danielson (D-Wheat Ridge)“By increasing medical providers in certain areas of the state, seniors will be able to get treatment without having to travel long distances or be forced to forego care altogether. We owe it to our parents and grandparents to provide them with the support they need.” 

“Limited access to medical providers in certain regions of the state keep vulnerable Coloradans – especially seniors – from getting the care they need,” said Senator Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood). “Our senior population is set to increase by 40% over the next decade, so with provider shortages already crippling the state, it’s imperative that we fill in these gaps – ensuring that aging Coloradans can access the dignified care they deserve.”  

HB21-1068, sponsored by Senator Dominick Moreno, would require health insurance plans in Colorado to cover an annual mental health wellness exam by a qualified mental health care provider. Under the bill, coverage for the annual exam must be comparable to coverage for an annual physical exam, and insurance plans may not require deductibles, copayments, or coinsurance for the annual mental health wellness exams.

“It is incredibly difficult for Coloradans to navigate our mental health care system due to lack of access, high costs, and stigma. We need to break down barriers to this vitally important care so that more people can get the treatment they need and deserve,” said Senator Dominick Moreno (D-Commerce City)“By mandating that insurance companies cover annual mental health exams for our residents, we can increase access to much-needed services while taking important steps to end the stigma surrounding mental health.” 

And finally, SB21-169, sponsored by Senator Janet Buckner, would prohibit considering someone's race, color, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, or transgender status in any insurance practice, as well as using any external consumer data, algorithm or predictive model that unfairly discriminates against someone based on those factors.

“Coloradans should not be charged more for insurance based on their skin color, ethnicity, educational background or zip code, however, this is the reality for too many marginalized groups throughout our state,” said Senator Janet Buckner (D-Aurora)“This law will take an important step to ensure that insurance companies do not discriminate against people of color and other underserved populations in Colorado, which will ultimately increase access to vital health care for all of our residents.”