June 29, 2023

At A Glance

At a Glance is a Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF) publication that provides information on major initiatives, policy changes and program updates. Feel free to share At a Glance with your colleagues. Find previous editions of At a Glance on our website. Thank you for your interest!

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A Message from the Executive Director

Historic Legislative Session for Health Policy:

Thank you for your partnership in a historic legislative session for health policy. This session was unprecedented for HCPF: we tracked 79 bills, successfully navigated eight Agenda bills through the process, and completed 94 fiscal analyses of 76 unique bills and their associated 18 amendments. Thank you for your partnership in helping pass bills of interest, with 87% of final votes in support. We are now working to implement all the bills and budget requests that impact HCPF safety net programs or leverage our expertise to the betterment of Coloradans. This includes 38 bills, 11 legislative requests for information and 16 new or changed legislative reports. Please visit our Legislator Resource Center to view our latest fact sheets on the 2023 legislative session.

We thank the General Assembly, advocates, providers and other stakeholders for partnering to advance bills that support the 1.79 million Coloradans who we cover and serve, provide added supports for Coloradans with disabilities or in need of behavioral health care, eliminate most co-pays for Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program) and Save People Money on Health Care. We are also very thankful for new policies and funding that continue to support our health care providers who passionately care for our members every day. Below are key highlights of the legislative session.

Saving People Money on Health Care. SB23-222 eliminates co-pays in the Medicaid program, except for the inappropriate use of the emergency room. This bill saves Medicaid members money on health care, while also reducing administrative costs for providers and increasing their reimbursements equal to the value of the co-pay. HCPF also focused on prescription drug costs, the leading contributor to rising health care costs. We thank the General Assembly for passing HB23-1201 into law, effective Jan. 1, 2025, which eliminates the practice of “spread pricing,” or up-charging of prescription drugs by middlemen, negatively impacting Medicaid, insured individuals and group policies. The law also creates transparency into pricing and an opt-in provision so self-insured employers can benefit from this affordability law as well. 

Two bills passed to increase hospital transparency and accountability. HB23-1226 and SB23-252 strengthen hospital financial transparency and price transparency, respectively, to help save Coloradans money on health care.

Gov. Polis signs HB23-1201 Prescription Drug Benefits Contract Term Requirements into law May 10 with bill sponsor Sen. Mullica (right) and Exec. Dir. Bimestefer (left) at Clinica Family Health, Thornton.

HB23-1243 builds upon existing legislation to further increase nonprofit, tax-exempt hospitals’ accountability to solicit, review and incorporate feedback from their communities in framing and executing their hospital community benefit investment plan. This will improve the impact and responsiveness of over $950 million in community benefit dollars spent by hospitals annually, in lieu of taxes not paid by tax exempt hospitals, to improve the health and well-being of communities across the state. SB23-298 will support rural hospitals in their efforts to collaborate, in lieu of merging, to improve access, affordability, quality and efficiency - all to the betterment of the communities they serve and their financial sustainability. These efforts will be supported by HCPF and the Attorney General’s Office. SB23-223 increases the frequency of targeted provider rate increases under the Medicaid program, changing the provider rate review cycle from 5 to every 3 years. 

Other bills passed support Coloradans with disabilities such as nursing facility support, transformation and sustainability (HB23-1228) and expanding certain home and community-based services for eligible aging and older adults and people with disabilities (SB23-289).

HCPF’s fiscal year 2023-24 budget is $15.5 billion Total Fund and $4.5 billion General Fund – about one-third of the state’s budget. 96% of that budget goes to pay our valued health care providers caring for Health First Colorado and CHP+ members, including a 3% increase in provider reimbursement rates across the board on top of this year’s 2% increase, targeted provider rate increases, and a 16% increase in payments for those primary care providers participating in our Alternative Payment Model for Non-FQHC Providers (APM2). 

In addition to our collaborative work this legislative session, thank you for your continued partnership in helping Keep Coloradans Covered as the federal COVID-19 PHE and continuous coverage provision end, and all states, including Colorado, must return to normal eligibility and enrollment operations. As the national press has recognized and as we have over the past few years, this is a massive effort and incredibly important. All of our 1.79 million members must go through the renewal process, which started in March with member notices about May renewal anniversary dates and will continue each month through April 2024. Members with June anniversary dates have already received their first round of noticing as well and will likely need to take action to maintain their health coverage. 

Partners and providers, please help us Keep Coloradans Covered by continuing to educate staff and patients about the return-to-normal renewal process. Resources are available to help you achieve this shared goal, at the PHE Planning Resource Center and KeepCOCovered.com. HealthFirstColorado.com/renewals has plain language resources in English and Spanish with links to help members with what they need to know about the renewal process and where to find help completing a renewal. Members need to take action when they receive their renewal notice electronically or through the mail in an envelope with red lettering reading - “URGENT - PLEASE REPLY”.  

Sample renewal notice envelopes to keep an eye out for.

Members can complete their renewal, including signing and returning their paperwork by the deadline listed on their renewal, in three ways: online at CO.gov/PEAK, in the Health First Colorado app, or by mail. More detailed data will be shared in the quarterly webinarsplease register to attend. 

Beyond the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement, the federal government ended the PHE on May 11, 2023. Colorado was prepared for this, and had already made positive policy changes, such as telehealth, permanent. Important, related changes are available in our May 2023 - End of the PHE special edition newsletter

Thank you for your collaboration throughout this legislative session to advance important policies for the betterment of all Coloradans. We appreciate the hard work, passion and expertise of our elected officials, advocates, providers, partners and stakeholders. For more information, please visit our Legislator Resource Center. And please continue to join and support our efforts to Keep Coloradans Covered

Breaking News

Kepro is now Acentra Health:

Last fall Client Network Services, Inc. merged with Kepro. On June 6, the newly merged companies announced their new name: Acentra Health.

Please visit the Acentra Health website or read the press release to learn more.

New Update to PEAK:

We're happy to announce an update to the Apply for Benefits process.

Users can now submit applications from their smartphone or tablet using the redesigned process. It's also easier for users to find benefits, better understand if they qualify, and provide instant feedback about their experience.  

Learn more about new PEAK features.

eConsult Platform Update:

HCPF is implementing a statewide Medicaid electronic consultation platform called the eConsult platform. This platform will promote HCPF's mission to improve health care equity, access and outcomes for the people HCPF serves.

The eConsult platform will enable asynchronous (store and forward) clinical communications between a Primary Care Medical Provider (PCMP) and a specialty provider. The PCMP will be able to transmit an electronic clinical question to a specialty provider and medical information will be reviewed by the specialty provider. The specialty provider will be able to review the case without the member being present. The specialty provider will then provide electronic medical consultative guidance that assists the PCMP in the diagnosis or management of the member’s health care needs or

facilitates the appropriate referral for a face-to-face visit with a specialty provider when clinically appropriate.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved the contract for the eConsult Platform.

Safety Net Connect was awarded the eConsult vendor contract; the design, development and implementation of the eConsult platform are underway. It is anticipated that the platform will be up and running in early 2024. Additional provider communications on this topic will be published as needed.

Anticipated Timeline

  • Fall/winter 2022- Contract Negotiations
  • Spring 2023 – Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Review of Contract
  • Summer/fall 2023 - Implementation Activities
  • Winter 2024 - eConsult platform Go Live

Note that the timeline is subject to change without prior notice and is only provided as a reference.

For more information, visit the eConsult Platform webpage or email HCPF_econsult@state.co.us.

Resources and How to Stay Informed:

The PHE Planning Resource Center will be updated as new information about the end of COVID-19 public health emergency and other COVID-19 policy evolves. To stay informed about the latest updates, sign up for the COVID-19 public health emergency updates monthly newsletter

In addition to the policy changes connected to the end of the public health emergency, HCPF has developed extensive partner toolkits regarding the end of the continuous coverage requirement. Update Your Address, Understanding the Renewal Process and Take Action on Your Renewal toolkits all include resources to help members take action to keep their coverage. A new joint webpage KeepCOCovered.com includes partner resources and information for those who may need to transition to other coverage.

Helpful Resources

Read Health First Colorado News

Download Health First Colorado Resources

Find PEAK Resources

Join a Public Rule Review Meeting

Apply for a State of CO Job

Female provider, kneeling next to parents holding small child.


In May 2023, there were

1,705,630 Coloradans enrolled in Health First Colorado and

45,206 enrolled in Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+).