|Although RFG is designed to lower emissions in vehicles, studies show that their results are not nearly worth their cost. In 2018, the University of Denver conducted a study titled, “Evaluation of Emissions Benefits of Federal Reformulated Gasoline versus Conventional Gasoline.” The study showed that ever since the phase-in of new fuel standards in 2017, RFG no longer plays a significant role in lowering emissions.
The Denver Metro Chamber understands that the longtime preservation of Colorado’s environment and air quality is crucial for the wellness of Coloradans and the business climate. We believe that this decision by the EPA would have minimal improvements on air quality in Colorado, and that there are more effective solutions available.
Instead, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and its coalition urge Governor Polis to request that the EPA reinstate the 179(B) waiver, which provides a small allowance for emissions from beyond our borders under the Clean Air Act, or, at least, request an extension of the deadline for compliance with ozone standards.
The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and its coalition are also calling on the EPA and state of Colorado to collaborate and take a pragmatic approach to reducing ozone that protects public health while not putting additional burdens on Coloradans. The EPA and state of Colorado should be developing incentives, not mandates, to improve our state’s air quality. A letter was submitted by the Chamber to legislative leaders emphasizing the importance of this issue for the business community.
For more background, read our full letter to the EPA.
Changes Coming to Colorado Health Plans
In Nov. 2020, Colorado voters approved Proposition 118, which allowed for the implementation of a state-run Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) program. Both employers and employees are required to contribute premiums for the program beginning Jan. 1, 2023, and by Jan. 2024, the FAMLI program will begin providing benefits to employees.
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) has recently released the final draft of FAMLI benefit rules, and it has begun a series of stakeholder meetings about FAMLI.
Colorado’s FAMLI program will cover most workers, including self-employed individuals and independent contractors. The premiums are set to 0.9% of an employee’s wage, with costs half covered by the employee and half by the employer. For employers with 9 or fewer employees, employers are required to collect employee premiums, but are not required to provide an employer premium. For employers with 10+ employees, the requirement is to collect both the employer and employee premium.
The next stakeholder meeting for the FAMLI program will be in August to discuss private plans. Additional information on the program and upcoming meetings can be found on the FAMLI website.
In other health care news, after the passage of HB21-1232, which established a standardized health plan to be offered in Colorado, the Colorado Option will be available to all Coloradans who purchase their health insurance on the individual market and to employers with fewer than 100 employees starting in 2023. Health insurance plans are required to lower premiums on Colorado Option plans for individuals, families and small businesses by 15% by 2025.
Throughout 2021, the Division of Insurance has engaged in a variety of stakeholder meetings and rulemaking hearings. The Colorado Option’s Advisory Board may consider recommendations to streamline how carriers make determinations on whether a health care service, treatment plan, prescription drug or durable medical equipment is medically necessary for a patient in the plan.
It was evident in these initial stakeholder meetings that there are still a large number of unanswered questions. For instance, the Division of Insurance has not identified the timing of when carrier will be provided with target reductions they are expected to meet, and there is question about the ability for carriers to determine that the PRR is attributed to a hospital, provider or another factor,
For additional information visit the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies’ website.