Preserving Coloradans’ access to preventive services amid challenges to the ACA

Written by: Children's Campaign
Date Posted: April 14, 2023

Colorado is one of the first states to make sure important preventive health care services remain fully covered for patients despite challenges to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), thanks to advocacy from the Colorado Children’s Campaign and several partner organizations, including the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

For more than a decade, the ACA has required that health insurance plans cover a wide range of preventive health care services – including anxiety screenings, contraception, breastfeeding support– at no cost to patients.

Access to some of those services is at risk for people across the country after a federal court ruled last month that the ACA’s preventive services mandate is unconstitutional in a case called Braidwood v. Becerra.

The Braidwood ruling focuses on a narrow set of preventive services recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force, including perinatal depression screens and fluoride varnish for young children. But we are concerned that coverage for more services is at risk as a result of the decision. The case is being appealed, and coverage of these services should continue for most Americans as the case makes its way through the courts.

However, even beyond this calendar year and regardless of the outcome of the case, Coloradans with state-regulated health insurance will maintain ongoing access to these free services as a result of SB23-189.

Gov. Jared Polis is scheduled to sign SB23-189 into law today, Friday, April 14. The bill requires health insurance plans regulated by our state’s Department of Insurance to continue to cover these key services at no cost to patients. This will help maintain access to care for hundreds of thousands of Coloradans, which can help reduce health disparities and protect families from unexpected, expensive bills.

SB23-189 also takes important steps to increase access to reproductive health care, which is essential for advancing the well-being of Colorado families. (Read more about those aspects of the bill in our testimony.)

The Children’s Campaign will continue to monitor and advocate for access to preventive services in our state. SB23-189 will not ensure coverage of these services through insurance plans not regulated by the state – and we remain concerned about how the Braidwood decision will affect health coverage across the country.

Despite this ruling, people should maintain full coverage of these services for now, as health insurance is offered via annual contracts which cannot be changed without notice. If you experience a surprise bill for affected services and have a state-regulated health plan (look for “CO-DOI” on your insurance card), you should file a complaint with the Colorado Division of Insurance.

Learn more about the Braidwood decision:  

Read our testimony:  

Children's Campaign

Follow Children's Campaign

About Children's Campaign

The Colorado Children’s Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization committed since 1985 to realizing every chance for every child in Colorado. We advocate for the development and implementation of data-driven public policies that improve child wellbeing in health, education and early childhood. We do this by providing Coloradans with trusted data and research on child wellbeing and organizing an extensive state-wide network of dedicated child advocates. For more information, please visit www.coloradokids.org.