Network fulfills mission of lowering health care costs

Ashley Thurow

When Monument Health was launched in 2016, health care costs were considerably higher on the Western Slope than the Front Range.

Primary Care Partners, Rocky Mountain Health Plans and SCL Health St. Mary’s Medical Center joined in an effort to align incentives and take a more innovative approach to lowering costs.

Five years later, I’m proud to share we’ve driven outcomes to change the narrative around health care in our community. Health insurance premiums in the Grand Valley are now comparable to — and in some cases, lower — than premiums for similar plans on the Front Range. 

As the largest clinically integrated network serving Western Colorado, we’ve always focused on prevention to contain health care costs and help people live their healthy best. 

By guaranteeing access to primary care providers, encouraging annual screenings and exams and educating members on where to go for care, we contain health care spending and improve patient outcomes. By operating a network in which physicians, insurance companies and hospitals align to save patients money while achieving positive health outcomes, we fulfill our mission. 

We’re proud to share some of these results reflected in premium rates for our co-branded products on the Connect for Health Colorado insurance exchange, sold by Rocky Mountain Health Plans, a UnitedHealthcare company.   

This year, Monument Health exchange plan premiums were, on average, 8 percent lower than they were in 2020. This is an incredible accomplishment because reinsurance levels were reduced by the State of Colorado in 2021. 

As we head into 2022, Monument Health premiums are once again, on average, 8 percent lower than 2021. Our popular silver tier plan premiums will drop more than 15 percent. An individual purchasing a Monument Health plan will pay less money, dollar for dollar, than they did in 2019.

Our 2022 exchange plan premiums will be lower than all other insurance plan offerings in the areas where Monument Health delivers care and also lower than several similar options offered on the Front Range. Residents of Mesa County, as well as Delta, Moffat and Rio Blanco counties, will pay less money for health insurance than many residents of Boulder, Denver and Summit Counties.

With a robust network of providers, our plans also offer more patient choices than competing carriers on the exchange. In other words, people shopping for health insurance on the exchange will have more options in terms of physician offices and providers to choose from if they select our product, which costs less.

While recognizing we still have a long way to go, this is one step in the right direction for Western Colorado.  Our founding partners — along with the providers, practices and hospitals in our network — are committed to achieving real affordability.  

Demonstrably high-performing primary care medical homes like Primary Care Partners, Patterson Primary Care and Western Valley Family Practice, to name just a few, are committed to providing integrated, high quality and total cost performance to serve within our network. Through this commitment, our network of providers and facilities keep care local rather than sending our friends and family members to Denver or Utah for care.  

Not only are we keeping care local and reducing the cost of care, but we’re also serving every single population in the community regardless of insurance coverage type. We couldn’t have accomplished this without our network partners. They deliver high-quality care and are willing to integrate and be held accountable to positive patient outcomes as we drive down the total cost of care and reduce premiums year-over-year for our members, which also happen to be our friends and neighbors in Western Colorado.

In less than six years since our inception, we’re proud to celebrate Western Colorado health insurance prices compare favorably to similar products on the Front Range. We’re keeping care local and remain committed to serving our community with excellence.