Connect for Health Colorado Among Top Performers

Ben Davis, ben@onsightpa.com, 303-522-6790 (Connect for Health Colorado)

DENVER, CO – Connect for Health Colorado® has signed up the 4th highest number of people for private health insurance among all states that operated their own Marketplaces, according to new data released today from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  The report includes data from states that operated their own state-based Marketplace as well as those that used the federal Marketplace (healthcare.gov).

CMS looked at total enrollments from Oct. 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014 for both private health insurance and Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus. Connect for Health Colorado continued its open enrollment period through April 15 and currently has signed up more than 129,000 Coloradans.

When measuring total numbers of people who accessed private health insurance or Medicaid during open enrollment, over 307,000 Coloradans signed up, making Colorado 14th highest among all states and the District of Columbia, according to the CMS report.  Among states that operated their own Marketplaces, Colorado ranked 5th.

By comparison, Colorado is the 22nd largest state by population, based on 2012 US Census data.

“With our partners, we are proud of our high national rankings and our success helping Coloradans get health insurance,” said Connect for Health Colorado CEO Patty Fontneau. “We will continue to work to enhance technology and services. We’ll also continue to focus on keeping our fees among the lowest in the country and following Colorado’s own path toward improving the health of our communities.”

Connect for Health Colorado initial analysis shows sign-ups for private health insurance occurred in every county and generally mirrored the percentage population of each county in the state. The private insurance customer base also is trending younger, with 38.1% of Coloradans signed up ages 0-34; 35.1% ages 35-54; and 26.8% ages 55 and older.

  • The proportion of enrollments was within 1% of the population percentage and uninsured adult population percentage for nearly all counties
  • Of all counties, Summit County has the highest percentage (39.8%) of young adults (18-34) and the lowest percentage of enrollees ages 55+ (18.9%) when you look at the county’s total enrollments. Denver County’s young adult proportion of enrollees is 36.4% and Larimer County’s is 30.7%. The statewide young adult enrollee proportion is 26.4%.

During the first enrollment period that ended March 31, Colorado’s Marketplace offered 150 health plans for individuals and families through 10 different insurance companies. It also offered 92 health plans through six insurers to small employers through the Small Business Marketplace.  The Marketplace fostered greater competition for the benefit of consumers and provided prices that were affordable to many Coloradans. Tax credits averaged $277 a month – bringing costs down significantly for many customers.

Connect for Health Colorado is working closely with the Division of Insurance and the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (which operates Medicaid) to prepare for the next open enrollment period for individuals and families, set to begin November 15 for health insurance plans that take effect beginning January 2015.

While open enrollment for 2014 individual and family health insurance is over, some Coloradans will still be eligible to find coverage this year:

  • There is no deadline for small employers who want to offer insurance benefits for their employees and they can begin the enrollment process at any time.
  • Coloradans who experience a life-change event – such as a job change or job loss, divorce or newly moving to the state – that causes them to lose their coverage can also sign up for new insurance and see if they newly qualify for a tax credit.  They must report these changes to Connect for Health Colorado within 30 days of the change.
  • Native Americans living in Colorado can sign up throughout the year.

History:
Through state laws, Connect for Health Colorado was established as a non-profit entity with a Colorado mission.  Just 18 months after hiring technology vendors, the non-profit organization opened Colorado’s own health insurance marketplace October 1, 2013, supporting customers with a statewide network of trained experts.

Colorado was one of the most efficient state-based Marketplaces in the country, spending $108 million to date on new technology systems; a Colorado-based Customer Service Center with over 200 employees; support, training and certification for hundreds of community-based Health Coverage Guides and over 1,550 licensed agents/brokers; and a statewide marketing effort to educate Coloradans about the new service. We increased access for harder-to-reach populations by providing a shopping portal in Spanish, language services and convenient walk-in sites and enrollment events across the state in libraries, grocery stores, churches and community sites.

More open enrollment metrics can be found in our By the Numbers: The First Open Enrollment report and on our Metrics page. The CMS federal report and index are also available.