ALAMOSA — Friday Health Plans, the Colorado-based health insurance company with main operations located in Alamosa, is reducing the number of states where it offers health coverage from seven states to five, effective Jan. 1, 2023.
The reduction in states has raised questions about potential layoffs at the Alamosa location with rumors circulating that as many as 80% of its employees could be laid off.
“Let’s set the record straight on this first thing,” said Tracy Fagin, chief marketing and experience officer with the company. “Friday Health Plans will continue to provide health plans as part of the Affordable Care Act in Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia, Nevada and Oklahoma.
“We’re in seven states now and will be in those five states in 2023. We’ll be available in all the same regions we’ve been in Colorado, including the valley, for the years we’ve been in business. We’re in Colorado. We’re staying in Colorado. We’re a Colorado-based company.”
When asked about potential layoffs, Fagin said employees have been made aware of the situation.
“We don’t have a timeframe on this yet,” Fagin said. “It will depend upon the number of members who enroll during the open enrollment period that started on Nov. 1. But we’re looking forward to a good open enrollment in Colorado and the other four states where we’re strong.”
The company will have a much better idea as the enrollment cut-off date, Jan. 15, 2023, draws nearer.
The two states where Friday will no longer have a presence in 2023 are New Mexico and Texas. The decision to leave New Mexico was made by the company, due to fewer members being enrolled than anticipated when they expanded into the area.
The decision to leave Texas “for now,” was made under different circumstances.
“Texas was our largest state in terms of the numbers of members,” Fagin said. “We enrolled more members than we anticipated which meant increased costs of operation.”
This year was a banner year for enrollment, she said. Due to COVID, the bipartisan American Rescue Plan Act provided additional funding for subsidies through the Affordable Care Act, which allowed more people to access health care.
“That’s great,” Fagin said. “That’s what we want; people to have access to health care to keep themselves and their families healthy and cared for.”
As a result, Friday grew very quickly in Texas and “insurance regulators asked us to pause our operations there. We’re not the only company that is facing this. Other companies around the nation are doing this, as well.”
Fagin emphasized that Friday is in good standing with all the Divisions of Insurance in the five states where it will operate in 2023.
The Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act also has guaranteed health care subsidies for another three years, which provides the potential for more growth in Colorado. Fagin said Bright Health Plans (a health plan company that offers coverage in other parts of the state outside of the valley) will not offer plans in Colorado starting in 2023, and there’s potential for growth among Friday members, as a result.
But, she said, for now and into the foreseeable future, every employee is needed.
“We’ll continue to provide services to members in Texas through the end of the year, and we’ll be in the other four states going forward in 2023,” she said.
“The people who work in Alamosa are the backbone of our company. We provide a great service to our 21,000 members in Colorado and the other states, and it’s all those people in Alamosa who make Friday such a great company. It sounds cheesy but people in Alamosa really care about the members.”
As far as local plans, Friday will continue with plans to improve the big parking lot downtown., which will serve as the future site of the Alamosa’s Farmers Market.
“We hadn’t gotten our permit yet for the building expansion, so we’re pausing on that and will be revisiting that in a year,” she said. “That’s not news to any of the contractors who have been working on that project.”
Friday also has plans to return to Texas at some point in the future, but, for now, the company is focusing on the five states where they are “very strong.”