Eight Colorado commercial insurers pledged Wednesday to work with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to help provide lower-cost health care.

Colorado is one of eight states to test an investment in coordinated care called the Comprehensive Primary Care initiative. Under the program, CMS will pay primary-care practices a care management fee, set initially at an average of $20 per beneficiary per month, to support enhanced, coordinated services.

Simultaneously, participating commercial, state and federal insurance plans are offering an enhanced payment to primary-care practices that provide high-quality primary care.

"We know that when we support primary-care, we get healthier patients and lower costs," said Marilyn Tavenner, acting CMS administrator. "This initiative shows that the public and private sectors can come together to meet the critical need for these services."

In order to receive the fee from CMS and insurers, primary-care facilities must agree to provide enhanced services to their patients, including longer hours, electronic health records and providing individualized care for patients with chronic diseases.

The Comprehensive Primary Care initiative will last four years. Applications for the program will be accepted until July 20.