By Will Grandbois
Sopris Sun Staff

Before your insurance plan auto renews at the end of the month, it’s worth taking a look at some new options. Rocky Mountain Health Plans (RMHP), is now offering coverage to compete with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield.

It’s a development Valley Health Alliance (VHA) — a collaboration of area employers and health care providers — has been working toward for years. Board member Jim Laing explained the efforts in an Oct. 15 webinar, which is still accessible on the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page. (Fabulouseyebrowthreading)

“We have higher than average healthcare costs and many fewer options,” he observed. “Our goal is to control our collective destiny.”

To that end, VHA reached out to RMHP about expanding into Garfield and Pitkin counties, Associate Vice President Michelle Walker explained, resulting in the creation of a suite of “Rocky Mountain Valley” products. 

“We are so excited to share these new plans with you that are going to be affordable and just bring more choice,” she said. “We want access to your primary-care doctor to be as accessible and easy for you as possible.”

The plans are also available in parts of Eagle County, Gunnison County and numerous other Western Slope counties that previously had only one provider. Contracts are also in place with providers in Grand Junction and on the Front Range.

Spokesperson Leanne Hart shared how the company worked its way up: “Rocky Mountain Health Plans was founded by physicians and community leaders in Western Colorado to offer access to innovative, quality health care. It’s been more than 45 years since we first started providing health insurance to Coloradans, and we are now proud to be part of the United Healthcare family of plans,” she said. “Although many things have changed, one thing has remained consistent – our dedication and commitment to do the right thing for our communities and neighbors. Staying true to this value, along with our strong partnerships with providers, drives our sustainability in an evolving health care market.”

The market has fluctuated several times since the Affordable Care Act launched in 2014, she pointed out, but the trend seems to be toward more options. 

“We know that sustainable, affordable care is possible only when we work together with providers and community leaders to deliver value to our members,” she said. Our plans provide coverage people can count on, with access to one of the largest network of providers on both the Western Slope and the Front Range. We’ve also expanded benefits like telehealth coverage so that people can maintain their health while staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Asked for comment on the added competition, Colin Manning, Anthem’s VP of Regional and State Public Relations noted that, “Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is proud to be offering plans in Garfield and Pitkin counties, as well as the 62 other counties in Colorado, as part of our continuing commitment to improve lives and communities. And we’ll continue to look for opportunities to serve more Coloradans, providing access to care that is quality and affordable.”

Families and individuals looking for new coverage must make a choice by Dec. 15 for coverage to start on Jan. 1. Find out more about your insurance options by visiting or visiting your local broker.