Colorado Center on Law and Policy Health Insurance Exchange Consumer Focus Groups

Dates: 2011

State: Colorado

Client(s): Colorado Center on Law and Policy

Services: Health Care & Public Health Planning, Health Systems Transformation

Technical Expertise: Health Disparities, Population Health, State and Local Public Health, Health Care Reform

State-based health insurance exchanges play a central role in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As such, Colorado recently passed Senate Bill 11-200 establishing and setting parameters for The Colorado Health Benefit Exchange. The purpose of the Exchange is to create a competitive marketplace for health insurance allowing individuals and small businesses to provide or purchase reasonably-priced private health insurance or Medicaid.

In order to ensure that the Colorado Exchange is a comprehensive marketplace that truly services its goal of increasing access to affordable, high quality health insurance, the Coalition - comprised of the Colorado Center on Law and Policy (CCLP), the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI) and the Colorado Public Interest Research Group (CoPIRG) - contracted with JSI to conduct a series of focus groups throughout the state. These focus groups were designed to gather consumer perceptions, wants, and needs for the design and implementation of the Exchange. Focus groups were conducted in Denver, Grand Junction, Pueblo, Greeley and Sterling in 2011 with individuals between the ages of 19 and 64.

As a result of these focus groups, several key themes emerged. Foremost, participants felt that the Exchange should be easy to use, allowing quick and understandable comparisons of similar aspects of different health insurance plans. This and other themes serve to inform the next phases of the Coalition's overarching project, including community forums and the development of consumer driven recommendations.