DENVER, CO – Yesterday the open-enrollment period ended in Colorado with a last-minute surge of sign-ups for health coverage. Between October 1, 2013, and March 31, 2014, over 277,000 Coloradans signed up or were approved for health coverage – including 118,628 Coloradans who purchased commercial health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado and 158,521 who enrolled in Medicaid, according to new data from Connect for Health Colorado and the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. Today’s metrics are preliminary and don’t reflect the complete picture of activity for this open enrollment period. Enrollments are expected to continue to climb in the next several weeks as Coloradans who started their applications prior to the March 31 deadline complete the process.
Although the open enrollment period ended March 31st, Connect for Health Colorado staff will continue working with any customer unable to complete their enrollment by the deadline. From April 1, Coloradans will not be able to get commercial health insurance, unless they have a qualifying life event, until 2015. Enrollment for Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus is year-round.
“Together with our partners, we helped over a quarter million Coloradans access health coverage, with many of them receiving new financial assistance. While we are proud of the accomplishment, we recognize that this is part of a longer journey to get Coloradans covered,” said Patty Fontneau, CEO of Connect for Health Colorado. “More than two years ago, a bipartisan effort to improve access to health care started and the impact is very clear: we are building healthier communities.”
“Our enrollment numbers today demonstrate we have taken a significant step toward covering many of our friends, neighbors and co-workers who were previously uninsured,” said Sue Birch, executive director, Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. “Even though open enrollment has ended, our work towards making Colorado the healthiest state in the country will continue.”
Understanding the March 31 Deadline
The deadline for uninsured Coloradans to enroll in commercial health insurance for 2014 was March 31. Uninsured Coloradans can no longer obtain commercial coverage until 2015 unless they have a special circumstance, such as losing a job that provided coverage or moving to the state. The next open enrollment period will be Nov. 15, 2014 to February 15, 2015. Coloradans can apply for Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus at any point during the year. More information is available here.
Through state laws, Connect for Health Colorado was established as a non-profit entity with a Colorado mission. In addition, Colorado has expanded eligibility for Medicaid. Private health insurance purchased through Connect for Health Colorado’s competitive marketplace and the expanded eligibility for Medicaid both began taking effect in 2014.
Connect for Health Colorado has been open since October 1, 2013 and operates with separate technology and customer service operations from the federal marketplace, healthcare.gov. Connect for Health Colorado is open to individuals, families and small businesses. Individuals and families can choose from up to 150 private health insurance plans from ten carriers and small employers can create small group plans from up to 92 health insurance plans provided by six carriers. The Customer Service Center is open from 7 am to 8 pm Mondays through Saturdays at 1-855-PLANS-4-YOU (855-752-6749). More information is available at www.ConnectforHealthCO.com.
Colorado Medicaid and the Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) are public insurance programs for low income Coloradans. The Department of Health Care Policy and Financing administers these programs. Coloradans have multiple ways to apply for coverage, Colorado.gov/PEAK is the online application for public assistance programs including medical assistance. For more information visit Colorado.gov/hcpf or visit Colorado.gov/health. The Medicaid Call Center (800-221-3943 for general questions and 800-359-1991 to check application status) are available 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday.