States’ Public Option Efforts Tap Insurers as Reluctant Partners with Chart: Washington and Colorado Public Option Plans

As the concept of a public insurance option gains increasing visibility in the 2020 presidential race, the spotlight is also trained on Washington and Colorado — states that are at different stages of setting up their own versions of a public option yet are facing similar challenges.

While they can vary considerably, public option programs generally aim to offer individual market customers a more affordable choice for health coverage than existing commercial plans by means such as capping administrative expenses and provider reimbursement rates. A public option provision was infamously eliminated from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) during the push to get it through Congress.

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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