Federal approval for Colorado health plan to change health insurance zones

DENVER - The federal government has approved Colorado's plan to consolidate several rating areas to reduce health insurance premiums.

The goal is to reduce costs in mountain and rural areas, including resort towns.

The Colorado Division of Insurance said that the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services approved its request to change the rating areas.

Under the Affordable Care Act, the state divided the state into geographic rating areas based on medical-care costs, which determined a range of premiums on the state health exchange.

According to the Denver Post, two Western Slope mountain rating areas consisting of 21 counties, including pricey mountain resorts, will be combined into one new rating area to reduce cost and risk. Also combined would be two Eastern Plains rating areas consisting of 26 counties.

The change does not take effect until January of next year.

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