February 6, 2017

Contact:
Luke Clarke, 720-496-2545
LClarke@Connectforhealthco.com

DENVER —  More than 175,000 Coloradans selected healthcare coverage for 2017 through the state health insurance Marketplace during the three-month open enrollment period that ended Friday, a rate 12 percent ahead of signups one year ago, according to new data released today by Connect for Health Colorado®.

“We are extremely pleased with the number of Coloradans who took the important step to protect their health — both their physical and financial health — by choosing coverage through our shopping portal,” said Connect for Health Colorado CEO Kevin Patterson.  “The steady growth we have seen in each of our open enrollment periods shows we are making valuable progress in providing affordable health insurance to a growing number of individuals and families in Colorado.”

Since November 1, Coloradans selected 175,964 medical and/or dental insurance plans (172,361 were medical plan selections) through Connect for Health Colorado. More than one in four (27 percent) of the plan selections were made by customers new to the Marketplace. The other 73 percent are renewing customers.

Sixty-two percent of Connect for Health Colorado customers this year qualify for financial assistance paying their medical premium, which will average $371 per month, per household.

Anyone whose 2016 coverage was not available for 2017 has another month — through March 1— to select health insurance for this year.

The sign up deadline was extended from Tuesday, Jan. 31, to Friday, Feb. 3, to help customers who were part of a last minute surge of plan selections. Coloradans who experience a qualifying life change event, such as marriage, divorce, having a child, losing your employer-sponsored insurance, or those moving into Colorado, have 60 days from that event to enroll in new coverage for 2017.

About Connect for Health Colorado
Connect for Health Colorado is a public, non-profit entity established in law by the Colorado General Assembly in 2011 to create a health insurance Marketplace.  It opened for business on Oct. 1, 2013, for individuals, families and small employers to compare and buy health insurance and apply for tax credits to help make their insurance more affordable. Customers can shop online; get help by phone or chat from expert Customer Service Center representatives; and find in-person assistance from certified brokers and agents, community based certified Health Coverage Guides or Certified Application Counselors. In 2016, the Marketplace enrolled more than 170,000 Coloradans in private insurance and helped more than 100,000 gain access to new tax credits that made their health coverage more affordable – all while keeping fees among the lowest in the country. For more information: www.connectforhealthco.com

February 1, 2017

Contact:
Luke Clarke, 720-496-2545
LClarke@Connectforhealthco.com

DENVER — A third party, non-partisan healthcare group ranked the Connect for Health Colorado® website second among the 12 state-based health insurance marketplaces and HealthCare.gov, in a report card issued this week.

The Clear Choices Campaign released its second annual report card for health insurance marketplaces on Tuesday. The group represents patients, providers, insurers, employers and life science companies. Clear Choices reviewed the Quick Cost and Plan Finder tool developed by Connect for Health Colorado and ranked it for delivering a high-quality online experience allowing customers to evaluate key health plan details. Only three marketplaces – DC Health Link, Connect for Health Colorado, and HealthCare.gov – offer all three decision-support tools considered the gold standard of informed consumer choice; an out-of-pocket cost calculator, integrated provider directory, and integrated drug directory. Click to view the 2017 report card. The full white paper with in-depth analysis can be found here.

Connect for Health Colorado and the Center for Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC) partnered to develop the Quick Cost and Plan Finder tool that will enable consumers to see:

  • Whether they may qualify for financial assistance to lower their monthly premiums and other costs, such as copays and deductibles.
  • An estimate of annual out-of-pocket costs, based on their expected health care usage.
  • Plans that include their preferred doctors, facilities and/or medications.

“We’re very proud of this honor from Clear Choices and believe we play a critical role in helping our customers get as complete a picture of their costs as possible when they shop for coverage on our Marketplace,” said Kevin Patterson, CEO of Connect for Health Colorado. “When customers better understand the health insurance they choose, they are better equipped to get the full value of their health plan.”

The tool equips consumers with an estimate of overall costs — including such things as co-pays, co-insurance and other “out-of-pocket” expenses — relying on data within the Colorado All Payer Claims Database (CO APCD), which is administered by the Center for Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC). The CO APCD is Colorado’s most comprehensive source of health care claims information. It includes data from 510 million health insurance claims from 21 health insurance companies, Medicaid and Medicare.

“Shopping for health plans can be confusing, and this tool helps Coloradans understand how different plans may impact their out-of-pocket costs throughout the year,” states Ana English, President and CEO for CIVHC. “By combining CO APCD data with health plan data, we are providing a missing piece of the puzzle for customers making important health care decisions.”

Development of the tool was funded by a grant from the Colorado Health Foundation.

Connect for Health Colorado announced it is giving consumers who attempted to enroll by the Jan. 31 deadline until 6p.m Friday, Feb. 3 to complete their enrollment. Friday will be the last day to purchase coverage this year, except for customers who experience a qualifying life change event, such as marriage, divorce, having a child, losing your employer-sponsored insurance, or moving to Colorado. Customers who are on hold at 6 p.m. Friday, or in the in the process of enrolling on line, will be permitted to complete their enrollment. One of the easiest ways to get help enrolling for many consumers is by going to one of the 18 statewide walk-in enrollment centers.

About Clear Choices
Founded in 2015 by the Council for Affordable Health Coverage, the Clear Choices Campaign is a multi-stakeholder advocacy campaign designed to promote health care transparency and offer better comparison shopping tools for consumers. Members include AARP, Aetna, HealthCare.com, Novo Nordisk, and the National Consumers League

About Connect for Health Colorado
Connect for Health Colorado is a public, non-profit entity established in law by the Colorado General Assembly in 2011 to create a health insurance Marketplace.  It opened for business on Oct. 1, 2013, for individuals, families and small employers to compare and buy health insurance and apply for tax credits to help make their insurance more affordable. Customers can shop online; get help by phone or chat from expert Customer Service Center representatives; and find in-person assistance from certified brokers and agents, community based certified Health Coverage Guides or Certified Application Counselors. In 2016, the Marketplace enrolled more than 170,000 Coloradans in private insurance and helped more than 100,000 gain access to new tax credits that made their health coverage more affordable – all while keeping fees among the lowest in the country. For more information: www.connectforhealthco.com

About CIVHC
CIVHC (civhc.org) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that helps Colorado identify ways to pay for, deliver and select high value health care. Through the pioneering Colorado All Payer Claims Database, we offer the state’s most comprehensive health care cost, quality and utilization claims data. We unlock information and provide tools and insights that guide meaningful action to improve health, enhance quality and lower cost. Bringing together a broad spectrum of organizations and individuals to design and drive collective change, CIVHC is devoted to a single cause: advancing an exceptional health care system for Colorado.

January 31, 2017

Contact:
Luke Clarke, 720-496-2545
LClarke@Connectforhealthco.com

DENVER — Connect for Health Colorado® today announced it is giving consumers who attempt to enroll by the Jan. 31 deadline three more days to complete their enrollment.

Individuals who began the enrollment process by midnight Tuesday will have until 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3, to choose a health insurance plan that will be in effect March 1, 2017. Friday will be the last day to purchase coverage this year, except for customers who experience a qualifying life change event, such as marriage, divorce, having a child, losing your employer-sponsored insurance, or moving to Colorado.

Any customers who are on hold at 6 p.m. Friday, or in the in the process of enrolling on line, will be permitted to complete their enrollment. The easiest way to get help enrolling for many consumers is by going to one of  18 statewide walk-in enrollment centers.

About Connect for Health Colorado

Connect for Health Colorado is a public, non-profit entity established by the Colorado General Assembly in 2011 to create a health insurance Marketplace.  It opened for business on Oct. 1, 2013, for individuals, families and small employers to compare and buy health insurance and is the only place to apply for financial assistance in the form of tax credits to help lower the monthly cost of premiums. Customers can shop online; get help by phone or online chat from Customer Service Center representatives; and access free, in-person assistance from a statewide network of certified Brokers, community-based Health Coverage Guides or Application Counselors. For more information: www.connectforhealthco.com

January 9, 2017

Contact:
Luke Clarke, 720-496-2545
LClarke@Connectforhealthco.com

DENVER —  More than 158,000 Coloradans selected healthcare coverage for 2017 through the state health insurance Marketplace through Sunday, January 8, a rate 18 percent ahead of signups one year ago, according to new data released today by Connect for Health Colorado®.

“We have been pleasantly surprised with the increase in sign-ups during this open enrollment period,” said Connect for Health Colorado CEO Kevin Patterson.  “Our numbers have gone up in our last two open enrollment periods. Last year we were up 19 percent over the previous year and this year we are seeing the same kind of strong growth.

“These many thousands of Coloradans have protected their health and their finances with healthcare coverage. I encourage anyone who does not yet have health insurance for 2017 to go to our site, Connectforhealthco.com, check to see if they qualify for financial assistance, review the available plans, and complete an enrollment. They can have coverage in place February 1 if they act by January 15.”

Since November 1, Coloradans selected 158,960 medical and/or dental insurance plans (155,370 were medical plan selections). Seventy-eight percent of the plan selections are renewing customers and 22 percent are new to the Marketplace.

Whether you are renewing or enrolling for the first time, you must complete enrollment by January 15, to have coverage February 1. Open Enrollment runs through January 31. That is the last day for people who buy their own health insurance to sign up for 2017 coverage, unless they experience a qualifying life change event, such as marriage, divorce, having a child, losing your employer-sponsored insurance, or moving to Colorado.

About Connect for Health Colorado
Connect for Health Colorado is a public, non-profit entity established in law by the Colorado General Assembly in 2011 to create a health insurance Marketplace.  It opened for business on Oct. 1, 2013, for individuals, families and small employers to compare and buy health insurance and apply for tax credits to help make their insurance more affordable. Customers can shop online; get help by phone or chat from expert Customer Service Center representatives; and find in-person assistance from certified brokers and agents, community based certified Health Coverage Guides or Certified Application Counselors. In 2016, the Marketplace enrolled more than 170,000 Coloradans in private insurance and helped more than 100,000 gain access to new tax credits that made their health coverage more affordable – all while keeping fees among the lowest in the country. For more information: www.connectforhealthco.com

December 19, 2016
Contact: Luke Clarke, 720-496-2545

DENVER — More than 144,000 Coloradans selected healthcare coverage for 2017 through the state health insurance Marketplace through Sunday, December 18, a rate 18 percent ahead of signups one year ago, according to new data released today by Connect for Health Colorado®.

“We have seen a definite increase in the pace of sign-ups during the first half of this Open Enrollment period,” said Connect for Health Colorado CEO Kevin Patterson. “These Coloradans have protected their health and their finances with healthcare coverage next year. I encourage anyone who does not yet have health insurance for 2017 to go to our site, ConnectforHealthCO.com, check to see if they qualify for financial assistance, review the available plans, and complete an enrollment. They can have coverage in place February 1 if they act by January 15.”

In the first month and a half of the annual Open Enrollment period, Coloradans selected 144,692 medical and/or dental insurance plans (139,509 were medical plan selections). Eighty percent of the plan selections are renewing customers and 20 percent are new to the Marketplace.

Whether you are renewing or enrolling for the first time, you must complete enrollment by January 15, to have coverage February 1. Open Enrollment runs through January 31.

Anyone who began an application for January coverage before Thursday’s deadline but did not finish the process should call 855-752-6749 for assistance before completing their enrollment.

Key dates and deadlines for individuals and families buying private coverage:

  • Open Enrollment: November 1, 2016 – January 31, 2017.
    • You cannot purchase health insurance after this period unless you have a qualifying life-change event, such as marriage, divorce, having a child, losing your employer-sponsored insurance, or moving to Colorado.
  • Last day to enroll for coverage beginning January 1, 2017, is December 15, 2016.
  • Last day to enroll for 2017 coverage (without a life change event): January 31, 2017.

About Connect for Health Colorado
Connect for Health Colorado is a public, non-profit entity established in law by the Colorado General Assembly in 2011 to create a health insurance Marketplace. It opened for business on Oct. 1, 2013, for individuals, families and small employers to compare and buy health insurance and apply for tax credits to help make their insurance more affordable. Customers can shop online; get help by phone or chat from expert Customer Service Center representatives; and find in-person assistance from certified brokers and agents, community based certified Health Coverage Guides or Certified Application Counselors. In 2016, the Marketplace enrolled more than 170,000 Coloradans in private insurance and helped more than 100,000 gain access to new tax credits that made their health coverage more affordable – all while keeping fees among the lowest in the country. For more information: www.connectforhealthco.com

December 1, 2016
Contact: Luke Clarke 720-496-2545

DENVER — More than 37,000 Coloradans selected healthcare coverage for 2017 through the state health insurance Marketplace in November, a rate 23 percent ahead of signups one year ago, according to new data released today by Connect for Health Colorado®.

“The pace of sign-ups during the first month of this Open Enrollment has been very heartening,” said Connect for Health Colorado CEO Kevin Patterson. “We know that there is a lot of discussion now about the future direction of healthcare, but what remains constant and true is the importance of protecting the health and financial future of all Coloradans. I encourage everyone who needs health insurance to check to see if they qualify for financial assistance, review the available plans, and complete an enrollment before the last-minute rush.”

In the first month of the annual Open Enrollment period, Coloradans selected 37,948 medical and dental insurance plans. That compares to 30,777 such plan selections in November 2015.

Whether you are renewing or enrolling for the first time, you must complete enrollment by December 15, to have coverage January 1, and avoid a gap in your coverage. Open Enrollment runs through January 31.

Key dates and deadlines for individuals and families buying private coverage

  • Open Enrollment: November 1, 2016 – January 31, 2017.
    • You cannot purchase health insurance after this period unless you have a qualifying life-change event, such as marriage, divorce, having a child, losing your employer-sponsored insurance, or moving to Colorado.
  • Last day to enroll for coverage beginning January 1, 2017, is December 15, 2016.
  • Last day to enroll for 2017 coverage (without a life change event): January 31, 2017.

About Connect for Health Colorado
Connect for Health Colorado is a public, non-profit entity established in law by the Colorado General Assembly in 2011 to create a health insurance Marketplace. It opened for business on Oct. 1, 2013, for individuals, families and small employers to compare and buy health insurance and apply for tax credits to help make their insurance more affordable. Customers can shop online; get help by phone or chat from expert Customer Service Center representatives; and find in-person assistance from certified brokers and agents, community based certified Health Coverage Guides or Certified Application Counselors. In 2016, the Marketplace enrolled more than 170,000 Coloradans in private insurance and helped more than 100,000 gain access to new tax credits that made their health coverage more affordable – all while keeping fees among the lowest in the country. For more information: www.connectforhealthco.com

The holidays are a time to disconnect from our daily grind and reflect. For me, the holiday last week helped bring some perspective to the changing environment in which we operate. If anything has been constant in our organization’s history it is the inevitability of change, whether it’s in market dynamics, regulation or the public policy environment. What brings me comfort and confidence is knowing how we’ve responded to that change in the past — we thrived.

  • We created, built and delivered an entirely new service for individuals, families and small business purchasing health insurance in Colorado and we are consistently seen as one of the top-performing and financially stable state-based Marketplaces.
  • We are trending 25% above where enrollments were only one year ago.
  • We developed a wide network of expert stakeholders from hospitals, trusted community-based organizations, Assistance Network partners, and brokers who have tirelessly served Coloradans for four years.
  • More than 93% of Coloradans have health insurance, the highest rates in the state’s history and one of the highest rates in the country.
  • Bankruptcies tied to medical debt have dropped by more than half to 45,000 a year.
  • We delivered $184 million in tax credits to our state in 2015.
  • Our innovative consumer decision-support tools leveraging Colorado claims data continue to receive positive attention.

While there are legitimate concerns about the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we should remember that Colorado’s path to building a health insurance Marketplace started years before national healthcare reform. The history dates back to 2006, when the Colorado General Assembly and Gov. Bill Owens established the Blue Ribbon Commission for Health Care Reform, known as the “208 Commission.”

In 2008, under Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter Jr., the Commission released its “Final Report to the Colorado General Assembly,” with a set of 26 robust recommendations from a diverse set of bipartisan stakeholders. The recommendations included the concept of a health insurance marketplace, much like the one we operate today. In many ways, our state was ahead of the curve. In the coming months, we’ll work to remind our partners, legislators, and the business community that while there is still room for improvement, we have made a very big dent in these issues identified ten years ago. Our mission of improving access, affordability and choice still ring true, regardless of who is in office.

While legislation has yet to be proposed, we are keeping our eye on several things. On Monday we outlined possible election impacts to the organization with our Board Policy Committee. We will continue to monitor potential changes to the ACA through the lens of our mission statement.

In Recent News

Six-term Republican Georgia congressman and orthopedic surgeon, Tom Price, has been nominated as the next secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). In this role, Price will oversee many departments within HHS like the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), but his main focus will be to define the future of the Affordable Care Act and how Healthcare.gov and other state-based Marketplaces, like ourselves, comply with any new changes to the law. Price will need to be confirmed by the Senate before his appointment is final.

Seema Verma was also recently selected to run CMS. Verma has extensive Medicaid experience having designed Indiana’s Medicaid expansion under then Gov. Mike Pence. In this role, she’ll have oversight of Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In Colorado, this program is called Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+), which offers low-cost health insurance for certain children and pregnant women and is administered by Colorado’s Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF).

I appreciate everything you all are doing to help improve the health of Coloradans.

Kevin Patterson, MURP, MPA
Chief Executive Officer
Connect for Health Colorado

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, we’re busy as ever enrolling customers. In fact, enrollments are outpacing our numbers by more than 25 percent over this time last year, with our biggest day falling the day after the election. And, this is a trend we’re seeing nationally.

While the recent election has raised a lot of questions about the future of healthcare, what remains constant and true is the importance of protecting the health and financial future of our customers. Broken bones, disease and other chronic conditions aren’t political, but can happen at any time and in some cases, are preventable with access to care and health insurance. Our dedication to helping customers remains as strong as ever.

With the upcoming holiday, we’d like to make you aware of our hours and closures. The Connect for Health Colorado administrative office will be closed Thursday, November 24th and Friday, November 25th. Our Customer Service Center will be operating the following hours:

  • Thursday, November 24th: Closed
  • Friday, November 25th: Open 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 26th: Open 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

We will continue to communicate weekly and as we know more. You can also see updates on our new “Election Questions” page that we created to address inquiries.

Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday,

Kevin N. Patterson, MURP, MPA
Chief Executive Officer
Connect for Health Colorado

The answer to that question is “YES!” The recent election has raised a lot of questions about the future of healthcare in this country. What remains constant and true is that it is important to protect the health and financial future of you and your family. Broken bones, disease and other chronic conditions aren’t political, but can happen at any time. Most are treatable, and in some cases preventable, if you have access to care and health insurance. AND, Connect for Health Colorado remains the only place you can access financial assistance to help reduce the cost of health insurance.

Rest assured plans cannot be canceled mid-year, regardless of federal changes, as long as you continue to make your monthly payments.

Learn more about your options.

There has been a lot of talk about the future of the healthcare in our country since the election. There are a few things we should keep in mind:

  • 168,000 Colorado residents have healthcare coverage through Connect for Health Colorado.
  • 102,000 are getting tax credits to help them afford their coverage.
  • Our state’s uninsured rate has dropped to 6.7 percent, the lowest in our state’s history and one of the lowest rates in the country.
  • The law that provides financial assistance to qualifying individuals and families is not changed and remains in effect.
  • We urge our customers to continue to shop for the best coverage for themselves and their families in 2017 and complete their enrollment by Dec. 15, 2016, to avoid a gap in coverage.
  • It is important for all Coloradans to have coverage, for their health and for their financial security.
  • Until the new administration and Congress develop a new direction, we continue with normal operations.

You [our customers, stakeholders and partners] have been with us from the beginning. We have achieved this success and navigated through the challenges to the law and uncertainty together. In these early days of Open Enrollment, we continue to see more Coloradans buying health insurance than ever before.

I want to call on your support again as we rededicate ourselves to our mission and to the new challenge of helping our customers understand any changes that might take place and what it means for them and their coverage.

Kevin Patterson, MURP, MPA
Chief Executive Officer
Connect for Health Colorado