To Our Valued Stakeholders,

I hope you are staying cool through the heat of summer!

In case you missed it, there is some big news to share this week from the Division of Insurance and the governor’s office. It was an honor to join Gov. Polis to hear firsthand the exciting news of the projected decrease in premiums of 18.2 percent for Coloradans purchasing health insurance through our marketplace. These numbers are dependent on the reinsurance program moving forward, which still requires federal approval. A second set of rates filed indicates the state would see an increase of 0.5 percent if reinsurance is not approved. As a reminder, our organization and our board have voiced our support for the reinsurance bill.

The press release also notes that all seven health insurance companies are returning to the marketplace and that another, Oscar Health, is joining. All of this news is a very promising sign that the work being done in Colorado to help address affordability, access and choice for consumers is progressing.

I’ve also been making my way out west recently. It is rewarding to continue to have conversations with stakeholders in various parts of the state to help me continue to understand the needs around Coloardo. Last week, members of the Western and Rural Colorado Health Care Coalition and I met to discuss Western Slope healthcare reform. This week, I am visiting with assisters and brokers in Dover Creek, Cortez and Durango. I’m also eager to meet today with leaders of the Southern Ute Tribe, to renew our commitment to finding ways that we can work in partnership to address the healthcare needs of their members.

In the News

You may find it interesting that, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, health insurers are generally profitable from numbers reported for the first part of the year.

Take care,

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

To Our Valued Stakeholders,

Happy Summer Solstice! It’s been a busy few weeks for Connect for Health Colorado staff, who have been criss-crossing the state meeting with close partners and business owners to see how we can continue to meet the needs of Coloradans in order to increase access, affordability and choice for purchasing health insurance. From Steamboat and Glenwood Springs, to Pueblo, Alamosa and Trinidad, we are visiting with our Assistance Network. It’s encouraging to hear both their successes and challenges from the most recent Open Enrollment as well as their goals for the coming year.

I also recently attended the second stakeholder meeting for House Bill 1004 (Proposal for Affordable Health Coverage Option), and there is now a website set up where you can find presentations and recordings from meetings.

In the News

I spoke with Paul Demko from Politico (scroll to Regulations section) about the potential effects of new HRA rule. You can also read more about it at Brookings.

Take care,

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

To Our Valued Stakeholders,

It’s hard to believe that kids are finishing school for the summer. Now that the weather is improving (fingers crossed), it’s a great time to get out and about. While Open Enrollment is closed for this plan year, every day we see more Coloradans with life change events enrolling through us.

From Chaffee County, to Aspen and Glenwood Springs, to Fort Collins and Broomfield, our partners like you are participating in fairs, events and conferences throughout the summer to help ensure Coloradans know about health coverage options. Our staff will also be at the Juneteenth Festival in Denver on June 15th. Come say hello!

While out at these events and in your daily work, thanks for helping us remind our customers to contact us to report life changes (like getting a job or having a baby). We know that things change during the year that can affect health insurance coverage and it is important that customers update their Connect for Health Colorado account if any of information changes, including a new address, or if there are changes to income or to family size.

Thanks, as always, for your hard work helping us accomplish our mission to increase access, affordability and choice for individuals purchasing health insurance in Colorado.

We’re Hiring

We’re hiring a Chief Policy and Relationships Officer who will lead the advancement of our communication, marketing, stakeholder and policy teams. This position will help us shape the future of health care in the state. Please share the job description and direct interested parties to apply through our employment page.

In the News

The Colorado Health Institute released their 2019 Legislation in Review Report, noting where policymakers landed on health policy.   

Take care,

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

To Our Valued Stakeholders,

As much of the work is just beginning on the healthcare bills that were passed this legislative session, I want to make sure you know about opportunities to engage in the discussions with us and other important stakeholders.

The Division of Insurance and the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing announced initial stakeholder meetings to discuss a State option for health care coverage as envisioned by House Bill 19-1004. A report is to be filed with the legislature by Nov. 15, 2019.

The first meeting is next Wednesday, May 29, at the HCPF offices. DOI asks that you RSVP here. The second meeting is Thursday, June 13. These two initial meetings will consist of a review of the bill, the charge contained in the bill, and the process for the stakeholder meetings. Those who wish to participate in the stakeholder process will be asked to devote the time and energy necessary for meaningful discussions on the issues specified in the bill.

Enjoy the holiday weekend, and I’ll look forward to seeing some of you the next few weeks during these important meetings.

In the News

I am honored to be selected by Industry Era as one of the top entrepreneurs of 2019.

Take care,

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

Connect for Health Colorado is soliciting responses from qualified entities that are able to provide information technology and security services. Interested parties can find the Request for Proposal through BidNet Direct, a part of the Rocky Mountain Purchasing System.

The Request for Proposal provides additional details and instructions on how to respond.

As a vendor, you must register with the Rocky Mountain Purchasing System to see all available bids and opportunities. If you need help registering, please call Rocky Mountain Purchasing System support at 800-835-4603; option #2.

We look forward to hearing from you.

To Our Valued Stakeholders,

Whew! What a ride that legislative session was! Our policymakers passed many bills concerning health policies that we monitored, and now that the session is over, our involvement in advancing this work is ramping up.

Specifically, Connect for Health Colorado was named as a stakeholder in House Bill 1004, in which a proposal will be developed about the design, costs, benefits and implementation of a state option for healthcare coverage. We were also named as a task force member for House Bill 1176. The bill calls for formation of a task force to review various healthcare financing systems and to determine the best option for Colorado.

We are eager to be a part of these discussions. Both initiatives have potential to save Coloradans money on healthcare, as well as help us advance our mission to increase access, affordability and choice for individuals purchasing health insurance in Colorado. I look forward to seeing some of the readers of this newsletter join the conversation.

As a result of our increased involvement in the health policy arena, we created a new leadership position at Connect for Health, the Chief Policy and Relationships Officer. This position will contribute to our strategic direction and fulfillment of our mission. Please spread the word to qualified candidates.

In the News

The Colorado Sun summarizes the outcome of the legislative session and some health bills, while the Colorado Health Institute includes a few of the important health bills accomplished the last week of the session.

Take care,

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

To Our Valued Stakeholders,

From Grand Junction to the Colorado Capitol, I’ve spent time this week with many stakeholders and policymakers talking about what we achieved through our last Open Enrollment period, and our continuing engagement in the conversation for improving affordability and access to coverage for all Coloradans.

I traveled to Grand Junction last weekend to attend the Club 20 Spring Conference. I enjoyed the opportunity to connect with Western Slope communities and listen to stakeholders share opinions on current and ongoing legislation.  

Also, this week, I was honored to present alongside our Board Chair Adela Flores Brennan, and Board Member Steve ErkenBrack, to the Colorado House Health and Insurance Committee. We had the opportunity to educate policymakers about our work as well as deep dive into our Open Enrollment success. The meeting was another chance to make clear that we are happy to bring our insight and experience to the current state healthcare policy discussion.

Speaking of conversations about the future of healthcare in Colorado, I invite you to listen in on Monday afternoon to our Policy Committee meeting for a special presentation. Dan Meuse, Deputy Director of the State Health & Value Strategies program out of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs, will lead a conversation regarding what other states are doing related to healthcare reform, and discuss the potential impacts to the Marketplace from Colorado’s reinsurance proposal and a possible public option. We welcome all interested stakeholders. You can find conference call information here.

If you are interested in further discussion about Colorado’s potential reinsurance program and the 1332 waiver application process, the Division of Insurance is holding two public meetings to gather input on the development of a reinsurance program and the corresponding 1332 waiver application process:

April 22, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Larimer County Fairgrounds and Events

April 29, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m., in Denver, 1560 Broadway, Conference Room 110D (First Floor) or via a webinar.

In the News

The state Senate this week passed the bill calling for study of creating a public option in Colorado. It heads to another vote in the state House. Modern Healthcare had this report.  

Take care,

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

To Our Valued Stakeholders,

It’s been a busy week! Members of our assistance network from across the state came to Denver to share ideas and best practices for helping all residents sign up for the health coverage they need. I attended their summit to thank them for their work helping Coloradans enroll in health coverage this past Open Enrollment period, as well as their year-round work of connecting with communities.

On another note, as you know, Connect for Health Colorado has been engaged with state policymakers along the way this legislative session. While we are closely watching various pieces of healthcare legislation, we are named as stakeholders in House Bill 1004 and House Bill 1176.

This week, upon the advice of our staff and Board of Directors, we took a position of support for the agency analysis and public engagement proposed in each of these bills. We believe the studies outlined in the bills are an important first step toward vetting all the proposed solutions that aim to improve access to affordable healthcare in Colorado. Having a seat at the table for frank conversations with our stakeholders, policymakers and the public is important to us as we look to evolve the healthcare landscape in our state. Read more about our position and these bills here.

Last but not least, you may have seen that last week, Gov. Polis unveiled the Roadmap to Saving Coloradans Money on Health Care. The governor’s office is seeking feedback about the availability of health information in Colorado to help implement the Roadmap. Participate in this survey by close of business April 17 to help determine reasons that Colorado consumers seek out information about health and wellness.

Take care,

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

To Our Valued Stakeholders,

I’m proud to share that this week we were recognized as being one of the most competitive state marketplaces, according to data released in national reports. The study, published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute, notes that Marketplaces with greater populations and more competition among health insurance companies generally continue to succeed.

We dove into the numbers and concluded that 68 percent of Coloradans live in counties with four or more companies offering plans, while 11 percent of Coloradans live in counties with only one or two health insurance companies offering plans. Read more in our press release.

Too many areas of the state still only have one or two choices and would benefit from more competition. We recognize this and we are committed to working toward our strategic goal of advocating to improve access to coverage in rural areas of Colorado as well as our mission to increase choice for Coloradans who buy their own health insurance.

In the News

You may be interested to know that we can add another state to the list of state-based exchanges. New Jersey is moving forward to create its own Marketplace.

Take care,

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

To Our Valued Stakeholders,

We released our report, By the Numbers, this week sharing data from the recent Open Enrollment Period.

Overall, medical plan selections increased by 3 percent over the previous Open Enrollment Period. We saw a 7 percentage point increase in the number of our customers who qualified for financial help, which means that 76 percent of the families and individuals who chose health insurance through the Marketplace qualified to receive help to reduce their monthly premium.

I’m pleased to report that the average net premium for customers receiving financial help is $117 per month, down from $136 per month last year. That’s a 14 percent decrease in net premium from last year.

County by county numbers are shown in interactive maps on page 12 of the report.

While we know there is a lot of work still to do to make health insurance affordable for every Coloradan, I am encouraged with this progress.

This report officially wraps up our work on the sixth Open Enrollment Period. As you know, we continue to enroll thousands of Coloradans who need a special enrollment period because of a qualifying life change event. Thanks for all you do throughout the year to help these customers.

In the News

The Division of Insurance released a study about House Bill 19-1168, also known as the reinsurance bill. The study, completed by the actuarial firm Lewis & Ellis, notes that the reinsurance program will reduce individual premiums by 23 percent. Read more in the DOI press release.

As you may remember from one of my recent updates, Connect for Health Colorado has voiced support for this bill. If enacted, the reinsurance program will provide significant relief on health insurance premiums in the individual market – on and off the Marketplace — particularly in rural areas.

Take care,

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