Denver-area hospitals produced a combined income of nearly $1.3 billion in 2016 — a number that reflected significant gains for most local medical centers, some of which operated at margins above 40 percent, according to a biennial report released today.

Health insurers also increased their profitability in 2016, according to the Colorado Health Market Review 2017, produced by Minneapolis-based analyst Allan Baumgarten, who uses information from Medicare cost reports submitted to the federal government to discern the profit margins of hospitals and health plans across various states.

The numbers show a big-picture trend toward improving fiscal health at most hospitals since the full implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act, despite the current uncertainty around key provisions of the law, including the existing mandate for all Americans to purchase health insurance, Baumgarten said. Republicans in Congress have proposed doing away with that requirement as part of their proposal to revise the nation's tax system.

Health systems that have had to treat fewer uninsured patients have responded by opening new facilities, making capital investments in their specialty programs and boosting revenues as a result.

Read more about how one health industry analyst says the Affordable Care Act helping the profits boom on the Denver Business Journal.