Nearly 600 La Plata County residents are enrolled in Elevate Health Plans after news broke that the carrier would be coming to Durango in April.
“La Plata County, with leadership from Local First, has been instrumental in our efforts to advocate for rural Colorado and we appreciate the enthusiastic response to our new partnership with Elevate Health Plans,” said Peak Health Alliance CEO Anne Ladd. “We encourage anyone looking for affordable health insurance to evaluate the coverage being offered through Elevate.”
Local First has been working to provide businesses and individuals in Southwest Colorado with a variety of health insurance carriers since 2018. Elevate will replace Bright HealthCare, which stopped offering individual health plans in late 2022.
Through collaboration with Peak Health Alliance, Local First brought Bright HealthCare options to the region in 2021. The move saved La Plata, Montezuma, Dolores and San Juan county residents over $5 million in premiums fees during the two years the health insurance provider was available.
Currently, 577 La Plata County individuals have enrolled in Peak Health Alliance. Nearby Archuleta County, which joined the network this year, has 208 residents to date who have enrolled.
“We're trying to keep a healthy medical community so that we have a healthy economic environment, and that we also have healthy individuals within the community. And I think people are excited by that concept,“ Ladd said.
Animas Surgical Center at Escalante, Animas Surgical Hospital, Mercy Home Health Service, Hospice of Mercy, Mercy Hospital, Three Springs Imaging, Animas Urgent Care, and Durango Urgent Care are all included in the Peak network.
Local First Healthcare Advocate Doug McCarthy told The Durango Herald earlier this year that the organization’s goal was to make it more economically viable for local businesses to offer benefits.
Attempts to contact McCarthy Tuesday were not immediately successful.
Ladd said the benefit of the plans is that Elevate Health offers mental health and primary care visits for free.
She also said the health plan benefits small businesses by offering an Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement.
“That allows the employer to say, ‘OK, I can contribute $500 per employee, I can't afford the whole premium, but I can cover $500 a month. So I'm going to set up this extra account, and I'm going to give my employees $500 a month,’” Ladd said.
Those interested in enrolling with Peak Health Alliance and Elevate Health Plans must do so by Dec. 15.