Garfield County affirms intent to join Peak Health Alliance
Garfield County has formally signed a letter of intent to participate in the Peak Health Alliance, which could help cut the cost of health-care insurance for county residents.
County commissioners have been working with Peak Health, a Summit County-based health insurance cooperative, to analyze the state’s all-payer claims database (APCD) for ways to lower the cost of insurance locally.
Last fall, the Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved a $50,000 grant to partner with Peak Health. The county has since hosted outreach meetings in Glenwood Springs and Rifle to provide a forum to share information about the program.
The nonprofit cooperative negotiates with health-care providers and insurance carriers to provide competitive health insurance rates and comprehensive plans.
If all goes as planned, Peak Health Alliance plans would be available for individuals and businesses, including both small and large groups, starting in 2021.
Commissioner Tom Jankovsky is a strong advocate for the program, but notes there is still much work to be done, and consumers still have to express a certain level buy-in.
“It’s a simple three-step process that becomes complex because you must understand the data and have individuals in the negotiations who are extremely qualified, and analysts who can talk to the health care providers, back and forth, at an in-depth level,” Jankovsky said in a news release issued last week.
A local steering committee will look at the negotiations with providers and the rates that come back from the insurance companies to make sure the negotiated health care rates are passed on to the consumer.
Jankovsky added that the Peak Health model addresses individual, small group and the larger self-funded markets. The Peak Health Alliance letter of intent was approved and signed by the Board of County Commissioners at a Feb. 3 meeting with unanimous approval.
If the county can enlist between 2,000 and 6,000 individuals and groups to join the cooperative, it could make sense, especially for small businesses, Jankovsky said in a previous interview.
Businesses or individuals interested in the Peak Health Alliance insurance model or signing a letter of intent to join can contact Garfield County Executive Assistant Vola Mercer at 970-945-5004, ext. 1040, or visit garfield-county.com for more information.
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Garfield County COVID-19 cases nearly doubled in early September with the anticipated start-of-school spike, according to local health officials.