Over the last few years, several states have tried their hand at creating a “public option” health insurance plan. Their experiences offer a cautionary tale to those pushing for similar reforms at the federal level — as well as to states considering public options of their own.
In its purest form, the public option is a government-run health plan that competes alongside private alternatives in the marketplace. But some states are turning to private insurers to run publicly chartered plans.
For instance, the public option Colorado implemented last year requires all private insurers to offer at least one policy that meets certain government standards — a plan design lawmakers have dubbed the “Colorado Option.”