Young patient sits on doctor's lap.

(Photo: Courtesy of the National Cancer Institute)

Garfield County commissioners are preparing a lawsuit against the state over high health insurance premiums, saying they're prepared to go to federal court if state regulators don't take action. 

Garfield commissioners say the state is violating the Affordable Care Act by approving insurance premiums that are much higher there than the rest of the state.

Colorado's insurance commissioner says the higher rates are justified because health care services cost more in a four county area in the central mountains that includes Aspen, Vail and Breckenridge.

But Garfield commissioners say their county shouldn't be lumped in with high-cost resort counties. They say Colorado regulators are ignoring evidence  that health costs are actually lower in Garfield than neighboring counties.

County Attorney Frank Hutfless says a draft of the lawsuit should be ready by the end of March.