June 8, 2023

General Assembly Newsletter
Stay up-to-date on what's new at the Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF) with our newsletter created specifically for the Colorado General Assembly.

Editor's Note

This newsletter is published monthly while the legislature is in session, and quarterly outside of the legislative session. The next edition will be published in August 2023.


Please continue to direct any questions or constituent issues to HCPF's legislative team:

A Message from Executive Director Kim Bimestefer 
Kim Bimestefer

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 webinars - please 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.

HCPF 2023 Legislative Agenda and Long Bill Overview

HCPF has published new materials that highlight the bills and budget requests impacting the Department.

This year, HCPF introduced and passed eight Agenda Bills to save Coloradans money on health care and improve health care equity, access and outcomes. Descriptions of the Agenda Bills, as well as other major bills impacting HCPF, are in our 2023 HCPF Legislative Session Wrap-Up.

HCPF’s Long Bill Overview outlines our discretionary budget requests passed by the Colorado General Assembly as part of the Governor’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2023-24 budget, which runs from July 1, 2023 – June 30, 2024.

Additional detail is available on our website. The Long Bill was signed on May 1, 2023, and goes into effect July 1, 2023.

PHE Unwind: Medicaid Renewal Resources for Constituents and Staff

HCPF worked with stakeholders and partners to develop a series of communication resources to prepare members for the return to normal renewal processes. All member-facing resources are available in English and Spanish.

The Take Action on Your Renewal toolkit launched in February 2023. The materials in this toolkit are designed to encourage members to look for their renewal packet in the mail and PEAK mailbox and take action when they get it. Included: website & newsletter text, social media, direct-to-member email and text messaging communications, & downloadable, customizable flyers.

The Preparing for Renewals toolkit includes renewal process education for partners assisting members in completing their renewals. Included: key terms, sample notices, & short videos in English and Spanish on key actions: updating an address, completing the renewal process, and transitioning to other coverage if a member no longer qualifies. 

We know members may have moved over the past few years. It is crucial that we have correct addresses so that members get the information they need to keep or change their coverage. Update Your Address messaging is available in the top 11 languages.

As we return to normal renewal processes, our united goal is to #KeepCOCovered. Additional partner resources, including a flyer, website, email and social media messaging are at KeepCOCovered.com

FY 2022-23 Legislative Requests for Information (LRFI) Reports

HCPF has submitted eight LRFIs to the General Assembly this year. You can find them all on HCPF’s website.

County-By-County Resources

Our county fact sheets provide an annual snapshot, by fiscal year, for Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program) activity, including average annual caseload and top five claim types for each county.

Legislator Resource Center

The Legislator Resource Center on our website is available to help legislators and legislative staff easily find information. It includes links to reports, fact sheets and overviews of the budget process to help inform legislators.

Follow HCPF on Social Media

We invite legislators to follow us on social media to stay informed of news and happenings at HCPF. You can follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.