Good News On Health Insurance

We are excited to announce that individuals and businesses will have more choices when it comes to selecting a health care plan for 2021. This is the first time in several years that there’s been competition in the small group and individual marketplaces.

There’s a big story behind the change, but for you as a member of the Chamber, the story is that you can now shop plans for the right benefits and price. This is all possible due to a partnership with the Valley Health Alliance.

Here’s What It Looks Like —

United Healthcare will be offering a full suite of health insurance plans for businesses in the small group markets, competing with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield for your business. Both insurance companies are offering plans at every level, but are competing hardest in the popular Silver level of plans. It’s worth your time to talk to a broker about what’s best for you.

Rocky Mountain Health Plans is offering plans in the individual marketplace through all the brokers who sell health insurance and on Connect for Health Colorado. This is the marketplace for sole proprietors and for companies that give their employees stipends toward their individual health insurance. Again, Rocky Mountain Health Plans choices are very competitive with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and worth your time to examine.

Hopefully you will find the right plan for you and your employees needs.

What’s In It For You —

First and foremost, competition means more choices and lower costs than we would have if there was only one insurer serving the Aspen-Parachute region. That goes straight to your bottom line.

But there is a larger story that involves local doctors, hospitals and employers who have been working hard for several years within coalition of the Valley Health Alliance to make health care more accessible, affordable and effective in our region.

The Valley Health Alliance is a collaboration of five chambers of commerce, seven local self-insured companies and organizations who have been working with both hospitals and physicians from Parachute to Aspen to develop and support a sustainable local healthcare ecosystem that keeps our care locally based and available to as many people as possible. The work has paid off with more healthcare choices for you and your employees.  

Summary document with insurance broker information [PDF]

Town Hall Recording – October 15, 2020

Watch the recording below to learn about the health plans now available from United Healthcare and Rocky Mountain Health Plan. The video includes a panel of representatives from the insurance companies as well as local employers, doctors and hospital leaders who all worked to bring competition and lower prices to our health insurance market. The panel discussion was followed by a Q+A.

Learn about: 

  • New options for health insurance plans in the small group and individual marketplaces
  • How to enroll
  • Alternatives for businesses under the ICHRA program
  • How the Valley Health Alliance has worked to lower our health care costs and ensure we all have access to great care

Speakers include:

  • Jim Laing, Chief Human Resources Officer, Aspen Skiing Co.
  • Chris McDowell, Executive Director, Valley Health Alliance 
  • Debbie Braun, CEO and President, Aspen Chamber Resort Association
  • Tanya Doose, CEO, Western Garfield County Chamber of Commerce
  • Moira Mackay, Account Executive United Healthcare
  • Michelle Walker, VP – Individual and Commercial Markets, Rocky Mountain Health Plans
  • Brad O’Neill, CEO at Golden Bee Advisors, founder of, Board Director for the Colorado Public Benefits Corporation by Connect for Health Colorado
  • Dr. Gary Knaus MD, Roaring Fork Family Practice, VHA Clinical Advisory Board
  • Dave Ressler, CEO Aspen Valley Hospital
  • George Trantow Chief, Physician Operations, Valley View Hospital

What is an ICHRA?

ICHRA (pronounced “ick-rah”) stands for Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement.

From the Denver Business Journal, August 5, 2020:

“The Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement was approved at the federal level at the end of last year. Colorado brokers have been given the green light to let clients know about the reimbursement arrangement as an option, as long as they follow federal guidelines. The Colorado Division of Insurance is considering finalizing regulation on a version that is specific to the state’s insurance system.

ICHRA is essentially cash for coverage. An employer who wants to offer insurance to employees will traditionally use a group plan. Group plans have their limitations, such as not covering part-time or seasonal employees. ICHRA allows all employees to select their own individual Affordable Care Act approved health plans, the costs of which are partially reimbursed by employers at dollar amounts predetermined by employers.”  Read full article here.