Among the benefits offered are reduced prescription prices and complete personalized care

Doug Miller, a nurse practitioner who runs Rocky Ford Health Center, performs a medical exam on Jean Smith on Nov. 16, 2017, in Rocky Ford. Denver Health Medical Plan will replace Bright Healthcare as another health insurance provider in Southwest Colorado starting in 2024. (Denver Post via AP, file)

The Local First Foundation announced Monday that Denver Health Medical Plan will offer individual health care coverage in Southwest Colorado in 2024.

The health insurance carrier will offer plans called Elevate and comply with the Affordable Care Act and the Colorado Option.

The carrier currently serves Denver and its surrounding areas but will now customize plans for Southwest Colorado and the Western Slope.

Local First has been serving businesses and individuals with a variety of health insurance careers in Southwest Colorado since 2018. Elevate will replace Bright HealthCare, which stopped offering individual health plans at the end of 2022.

Through collaboration with Peak Health Alliance, Local First was able to bring brilliant healthcare options to the region in 2021. The move saved residents of La Plata, Montezuma, Dolores and San Juan counties more than $5 million in premium fees over the two years health insurance providers were available.

“We were really drawn to them because they’re a Colorado-based nonprofit and they share our values ​​and our commitment to the communities they serve,” said Doug McCarthy, health care advocate for Local First.

McCarthy also said that the local First and Peak Health Alliance is confident that Denver Health Medical Plan, unlike Bright Health Care, will not drop individual coverage plans anytime soon.

Through the Elevate Exchange and the Colorado Option Plan, members will get lower prices for common prescription drugs. Some plans will be linked to health savings accounts.

“We’re excited about it and then we’re really hopeful that it will be a low-cost plan with community partnerships with local health care providers,” McCarthy said.

A Local First news release said more information about the plan will be available later this year. Local First will also work with local health insurance brokers and others to help educate the community about new options as part of its health care literacy program.

The new Elevate Health plans will be available to individuals and families during the annual open enrollment period beginning in November Employees of businesses that offer individual coverage health reimbursement plans can also choose the 2024 plan.

“Many local businesses will also benefit from the choice to offer their employees through private health reimbursement systems, which is an attractive option for many smaller employer groups,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy said Durango Herald In March it was the organization’s aim to make it more economically viable to benefit local businesses.

“It’s based on ‘whole person care,'” said Greg McCarthy, CEO of Denver Health Medical Plan. “We do this collaboratively so our members become an active part of the health and wellness process.”

Whole-person care looks at both the body and the mind in creating a care plan. This patient-centered approach leverages a wide range of resources to provide physical, behavioral, and social support.

“Local First is grateful for the opportunity to continue our partnership with Peak Health Alliance to offer greater choice and strengthen our local healthcare market,” Lauren Berutich, Local First CEO, said in a news release.

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