Local First Partners with Peak Health Alliance to Bring New Health Insurance Carrier to Southwest Colorado

Local First joined Peak Health Alliance in announcing the selection of Denver Health Medical Plan (DHMP) to offer individual health insurance plans, compliant with the Affordable Care Act and Colorado Option, in southwest Colorado beginning January 1, 2024. The new plans will be marketed using the name Elevate Health Plans.

“We are delighted that our partnership with Peak Health Alliance will bring affordable, high-quality health care plans from a reputable, reliable insurance carrier to serve individuals and families in our communities,” said Doug McCarthy, healthcare advocate for Local First. “Many local businesses will also benefit from the choice these plans will offer to their employees through individual coverage health reimbursement arrangements, which are an attractive option for many small employer groups.”

Denver Health Medical Plan brings years of experience and has proven its commitment to operational excellence. With more than 130,000 members in Colorado, Denver Health Medical Plan offers a diverse scope of services and plans that accommodate preventive, standard, emergent and urgent care needs, which also includes coverage for mental and behavioral health care.

“It’s coverage that is based on ‘whole person care,’” said Greg McCarthy, Denver Health Medical Plan CEO. “We do that collaboratively so our members become an active part of the health and wellness process.”

“We are eager to begin working with a well-respected and highly trusted Colorado-based partner like Denver Health Medical Plan,” said Anne Ladd, Peak Health Alliance CEO. “Denver Health Medical Plan is the only carrier that fully complied with the Colorado Option’s premium savings targets in the markets they serve this year, and we believe that speaks volumes about their commitment and aligns with our values and vision to provide affordable healthcare plans.”

Responding to the concerns of local businesses, Local First began working to develop a local solution to the high cost of health insurance in 2018. Local civic and business leaders were attracted to the success achieved by Peak Health Alliance in reducing insurance premiums for residents of Summit County, Colorado. The two organizations partnered to deliver similar results for residents of Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, and San Juan counties, saving $5.5 million for individuals and businesses in the southwest during 2021 and 2022. More affordable options allowed small businesses to offer health care benefits to employees for the first time.

“Local First is grateful for the opportunity to continue our partnership with Peak Health Alliance to offer greater choice and strengthen our local healthcare market,” said Lauren Berutich, Local First CEO. “The plans offered by Peak and Denver Health Medical Plan will support our core principles of promoting local self-reliance and a holistic approach to community well-being.”

“As advocates for access to affordable, high-quality health care in rural Colorado, we rely on relationships with local providers who want to see their neighbors get good care at sustainable prices,” said Don Dankner, Peak Health Alliance board chair. “We are excited that Denver Health Medical Plan is joining us in the effort to meet the health insurance needs of the communities we serve. We want our Elevate Health Plans to result in a win for all and we are optimistic about the long-term prospects for this new partnership.”

The new Elevate Health Plans will be available to individuals and families during the annual Open Enrollment Period starting in November. Employees of businesses that offer Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangements (ICHRAs) may also choose the plans in 2024. More information about the plans will be available later this year. Local First will work with local health insurance brokers and others to help educate the community on the new options.

Download the full press release. | Contact: Doug McCarthy, doug@local-first.org