Health Care Alliance Offers Solutions to High Costs

Glenwood Springs—The solution to the skyrocketing cost of health care in Colorado may have been found by a Summit County-based non-profit organization.  Peak Health Alliance started out small over a year ago but has rapidly grown as more communities have jumped on the bandwagon.  With the highest health insurance premiums in the world, Garfield County was quick to join alliance last November with  a $50,000.00 commitment and invited Peak Health CEO Tamara Pogue to explain the successful formula in front of a standing-room-only crowd in Glenwood Springs.  She says the alliance negotiates prices between hospitals and insurance companies using the purchasing power of the community.  Pogue says it’s all about transparency.  She compares the process to buying a car.  There’s research to find the best dealer, the best car for your money and the finding the best price to fit your budget.  Pogue says hospitals represent about 30% of the total health care dollar and they are understandably reluctant to at first to haggle over prices.  She says once the fee schedule is determined for the needed services like blood work or an MRI, Peak Health bids it out to insurance companies.  Pogue says combined with the reinsurance legislation passed last year by state lawmakers, the Peak Health program led to a 45% drop in Summit County’s premiums.  She’s confident it will work in Garfield County.  By January of 2021, eight western slope counties will be able to participate in the Peak Health Alliance program; Garfield, Grand, La Plata, San Juan, Dolores, Chaffee, Lake and Montezuma.  Five more have agreed to join in 2022.  Garfield County’s uninsured rate of 21% is the highest in the nation.