Contact: Luke Clarke 720-496-2545

DENVER – More than 169,000 Coloradans selected health coverage for 2019 through the state health insurance Marketplace by the close of Open Enrollment Tuesday, an increase of 2 percent over the previous Open Enrollment period, according to new data released today by Connect for Health Colorado®, and the number getting financial help buying insurance grew sharply.

More than three of every four people—77 percent – who chose health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado qualified to receive financial help to reduce their monthly premium. That is up from 69 percent in 2018 and 61 percent in 2017.

“I am happy to see the increase in the number of Colorado families who find the protection to their health and personal finances through us,” said Connect for Health Colorado CEO Kevin Patterson. “It is very good news that so many Coloradans are getting financial help to reduce their monthly costs. We know that the price of health insurance remains a challenge for too many families and individuals in our state, particularly outside the Front Range. But we are encouraged to see more are taking our advice to see what help they can get when they buy through us.”

By the close of this year’s Open Enrollment, Coloradans had selected 169,672 medical insurance plans, which compares to 165,777 medical plan selections for the 2018 Open Enrollment period.

Among the 2019 plan selections, 21 percent are by customers who are new to Connect for Health Colorado and 79 percent are renewing customers.

Until the next Open Enrollment period, which will begin November 1, 2019, individual enrollments will be limited to Coloradans who experience at least one “qualifying life change event,” such as marriage, divorce, having a child, losing their employer-sponsored insurance.

View the county-level plan selection totals.

To Our Valued Stakeholders,

Happy New Year! I hope you’ve all had a great to start to your new year. We’re quite busy around here, as I expect you are too.

We announced earlier this week that rural counties were leading the way in sign-ups through early January. As one of our 2017-2020 Strategic Plan goals is to of improve access to coverage in rural areas of Colorado, we are pleased to see these numbers in these communities.

To keep the momentum through the Jan. 15 finish line, there are enrollment events this weekend in Aurora and Fort Collins, as well as in Canon City and Sterling on Monday and Tuesday. We have extended hours at our Customer Service Center to include assistance this Saturday, as well as regular business hours Monday, and extended hours to 10 p.m. on Tuesday evening.

This morning, I participated in a press conference with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock hosted by Denver Health. There, I reminded small business owners who may not be able to provide traditional employer-sponsored plans that we are able to provide their employees with affordable insurance. We recently launched a Small Business Coverage page on our website specifically aimed at the needs of businesses with 10 or fewer employees. There are no employer contribution requirements.

In the policy world, we look forward to working with the new governor and policymakers on ideas related to making healthcare more affordable for our customers. It has already been a busy legislative session.

Also this week, we submitted our comment to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on the Exchange Program Integrity proposed rule. You can read it here.

In the News

I enjoyed the opportunity Monday to sit down for a Facebook Live interview with Brother Jeff, a journalist and organizer in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood. We talked about Open Enrollment, eligibility, Connect for Health Colorado’s mission and a number of topics. You can watch it here.

I am grateful for your efforts and the results we are seeing during this sixth Open Enrollment period. Thanks for your dedication to getting Coloradans covered.

Take care,

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

Contact: Luke Clarke 720-496-2545

DENVER – Connect for Health Colorado® is reaching out to partner with small employers across Colorado to help provide affordable comprehensive health insurance to their workers, recognizing many small businesses are unable to provide traditional employer-sponsored healthcare coverage.

“Workers making $20 an hour can qualify for substantial help buying health insurance through us, often reducing monthly premiums to around $100 a month or less,” said Connect for Health Colorado CEO Kevin Patterson. “We can help employers get their workers covered at an affordable rate and we can relieve them of the administrative burden while protecting the health and finances of their staff.”

Connect for Health Colorado recently rolled out a Small Business Coverage Page aimed at the needs of businesses with 10 or fewer employees. There are no employer contribution requirements.

In its pitch to business owners, Connect for Health Colorado offers:

  • Multiple health plan choices
  • Easier administration of health coverage
  • Lower premiums

To take advantage in 2019, workers will need to complete their 2019 health insurance enrollment by Tuesday,  January 15.

“It is not too late. I urge anyone in Colorado who does not yet have their 2019 health insurance in place to act now. We are here to help,” Patterson said.

After January 15, individuals and families can buy coverage on their own only if they experience a life change event such as such as marriage, divorce, having a child, losing employer-sponsored insurance, or moving to Colorado.

(Kevin Patterson will join Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Denver Health Medical Plan executives for a press conference in Denver Friday at 10 a.m. at 301 W. Sixth Ave., Suite 3, Pavilion G)

Contact: Luke Clarke 720-496-2545

DENVER – Rural counties are leading the way in Connect for Health Colorado® sign ups as the state health insurance marketplace heads to the last week of the 2019 Open Enrollment period.

Overall, 2019 health plan selections through Connect for Health Colorado are running about 3 percent ahead of the comparable period a year ago but many rural counties have already exceeded the number of plan selections made in the entire two-and-a-half-month Open Enrollment period in 2018.

By January 3, 2019, 30 of the state’s 64 counties had matched or exceeded the number of plan selections made during all of last year’s Open Enrollment. This year’s Open Enrollment runs through January 15.

Among those 30 leading counties, only two – El Paso County at 102 percent and Adams County at 101 percent  of the 2018 total — are among the 10 urban Front Range counties. Nine rural counties were at 110 percent or more of the 2018 Open Enrollment figure as of January 3. They are: Kiowa, San Juan, Custer, Bent, Rio Grande, Las Animas, Mineral, Huerfano and Cheyenne.

“We know that our customers in rural counties face some of the highest costs and we are glad to see the number of residents of those areas who are able to protect their health and family finances by working with us,” said Connect for Health Colorado CEO Kevin Patterson. “Coloradans in every county have only one more week to buy their own health insurance. I urge them to go to ConnectforHealthCO.com now to see the savings opportunity available before it’s too late. This is the time for the many workers whose employers aren’t able to provide health insurance to act now to get their coverage in place for 2019. We are here to help.”

After January 15, individuals and families can buy coverage on their own only if they experience a life change event such as such as marriage, divorce, having a child, losing employer-sponsored insurance, or moving to Colorado.

For purposes of this analysis, “urban counties” refers to the 10 counties classified as urban by the Colorado Rural Development Council and “rural counties” refers to the 54 that organization classified as “rural” or “ag-urban.” Read the full list of county plan selection totals.

Contact: Luke Clarke, 720-496-2545
[email protected]

DENVER — More than 156,000 Coloradans selected healthcare coverage for 2019 through the state health insurance Marketplace through December 15, 2018, a rate 5 percent ahead of signups one year ago, according to new data released today by Connect for Health Colorado®.

“I am happy with the pace of sign-ups for health insurance plans that take effect January 1,” said Connect for Health Colorado CEO Kevin Patterson.  “But we are still enrolling Coloradans who buy their own health insurance and will continue through January 15. For anyone who does not yet have coverage in place, it’s time to go to our site and pick your coverage for next year. In four weeks, the door closes for buying your 2019 health plan.”

Coloradans have selected 156,101 medical insurance plans through the December 15 deadline. The total was 149,006 for the comparable period in 2017. Seventeen percent of the medical plan selections are by customers who are new to Connect for Health Colorado and 83 percent are renewing customers.

Connect for Health Colorado opened for business November 1 with rate increases lower than the state has seen in years, a streamlined application process that will save Coloradans time obtaining financial assistance and all seven health insurance companies returning to the individual market in 2019.

While many states have concluded their Open Enrollment periods, Open Enrollment in Colorado runs to January 15, 2019, for insurance that will take effect February 1, 2019.

“As a state-based health insurance marketplace, we are able to adjust our operations to best meet the needs of the residents of our state,” Patterson said. “This year, that has meant introducing a streamlined process for obtaining financial help, improving our online tool for choosing a health plan and extending the enrollment period beyond the holidays.”

Contact: Luke Clarke 720-496-2545

DENVER — More than 46,000 Coloradans selected health coverage through Connect for Health Colorado® during November, a number 6 percent ahead of the pace one year ago, according to new data released today.

“We started with a strong month but there are now only 12 days left to get coverage in place for Jan. 1,” said Connect for Health Colorado® CEO Kevin Patterson. “It is time for Coloradans who buy their own health insurance to act to protect their health and their family finances.”

During November, Connect for Health Colorado customers made 46,332 medical plan selections. The total was 43,881 medical plan selections for the comparable period in 2017. Fifteen percent of the plan selections are by customers who are new to Connect for Health Colorado and 85 percent are renewing customers.

Connect for Health Colorado opened for business Nov. 1 with rate increases lower than the state has seen in years, a streamlined application process that will save Coloradans time obtaining financial assistance and all seven health insurance companies returning to the individual market in 2019.

“We have a statewide network of 1,000 Brokers and Assisters who can help with these important decisions,” Patterson said. “I urge anyone in Colorado who buys their own health insurance to go now to ConnectforHealthCO.com to see what financial help they can get. Many are pleasantly surprised with what they find.”

More than 130,000 Coloradans got help paying for health insurance in 2018. Renewing customers qualifying for financial help will see their net premium – their cost after the Advance Premium Tax Credit – go down 24%, on average, in 2019.

Analysis shows that three out of four of Connect for Health Colorado customers who bought their health insurance with financial help will have an option for health insurance with a net premium (after financial help) less than $50 per month in 2019.

Open Enrollment runs from November 1, 2018, to January 15, 2019, but consumers need to enroll by December 15 to have coverage in place by January 1, 2019.

To Our Valued Stakeholders,

We are winding up November with the number of 2019 plan selections growing stronger each day. We plan another public release on Monday that will include total submissions for the month through midnight tonight.

You may have noticed we are trying some new and fun things in our social media outreach this year to help drive those numbers up. I would like to share two that we posted this week.

You may recognize some familiar faces of partners around the state in the I’m Here to Help video that we recorded at Building Better Health last month. And you might enjoy my conversation with Graffiti and Davey on the Life is Dope podcast, an opportunity to speak to an audience our traditional channels might not reach and to have a little fun in the process.

In the News

We have talked before about the modest increase in 2019 health insurance premiums in Colorado. The Kaiser Family Foundation provided an analysis of the rates for the lowest plans in three metal tiers. You can find there a breakdown of Colorado by rating area and even county-level data that illustrates the variations around the state you may find interesting.

Take care,

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

Contact: Luke Clarke 720-496-2545

DENVER — More than 25,000 Coloradans selected health coverage through Connect for Health Colorado® between Nov. 1 and Nov. 15, a number 13 percent ahead of the pace one year ago, according to new data released today.

“This number of initial sign-ups is the strongest start to an Open Enrollment Period we have seen,” said Connect for Health Colorado® CEO Kevin Patterson. “By acting early, these Coloradans will ensure their health coverage is in place Jan. 1, 2019, protecting their health and their family finances.”

The two-week period saw 25,614 medical plan selections. The total was 22,650 medical plan selections for the comparable period in 2017. Twelve percent of the plan selections are by customers who are new to Connect for Health Colorado and 88 percent are renewing customers.

Connect for Health Colorado opened for business Nov. 1 with rate increases lower than the state has seen in years, a streamlined application process that will save Coloradans time obtaining financial assistance and all seven health insurance companies returning to the individual market in 2019.

“Customers are responding with this early action, but there are still many who qualify for financial assistance and don’t know it,” Patterson said. “I urge anyone in Colorado who buys their own health insurance to check ConnectforHealthCO.com to see what help they can get and to compare their health insurance options side-by-side.”

More than 130,000 Coloradans got help paying for health insurance in 2018. Renewing customers qualifying for financial help will see their net premium – their cost after the Advance Premium Tax Credit – go down 24%, on average, in 2019.

Connect for Health Colorado has introduced a streamlined financial help application that can take roughly half the time to complete as last year’s.

“We are committed to making enrolling in health insurance and getting financial help easier for everyone in our state who buys their own health insurance,” Patterson said.  “This year that financial help was like an 80% discount on health insurance premiums. Too many people assume they make too much to qualify for help.”

Analysis shows that three out of four of Connect for Health Colorado customers who bought their health insurance with financial help will have an option for health insurance with a net premium (after financial help) less than $50 per month in 2019.

Open Enrollment runs from November 1, 2018, to January 15, 2019, but consumers need to enroll by December 15 to have coverage in place by January 1, 2019.

Thinking back on our story as we look forward

To Our Valued Stakeholders,

This week’s election reminds us of our bipartisan roots and the continuing oversight of Connect for Health Colorado by representatives of both political parties.

We had the opportunity to meet early with members of both governor campaigns and we continue to work with the incoming administration.

It’s good to remember that the original idea for a state health insurance marketplace (they called it a “Connector” then) originated with a panel formed by Republican Gov. Bill Owens. A Democrat, Bill Ritter, occupied the governor’s mansion when the group delivered its recommendation and our outgoing Gov. John Hickenlooper was in office to sign the legislation when Republican and Democratic legislators passed a bill creating the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange, which does business as Connect for Health Colorado.

That bill ensures that legislators in the minority and in the majority party share seats on our 10-member legislative oversight committee and each party names members to our board of directors.

We congratulate all the voters and candidates who participated in Tuesday’s election and we look forward to working with new friends and old friends at the capitol.

In the News

Voters in Idaho, Utah and Nebraska approved measures Tuesday to expand Medicaid, increasing the number of expansion states to 36, according to a Washington Post account. Changes in administrations resulting from the election could see the total rise to 38 states.

Service Update

We have added personnel and we are fine tuning the telephone technology as we continue to see a large number of 2019 plan selections and challenging call volumes.

We are grateful for all the early interest in getting 2019 health insurance in place, but especially for your continued patience and support in this work.

Take care,

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

We launched our sixth Open Enrollment Period yesterday and we are seeing call volume well ahead of our projections and above levels that we have seen in the past. Our new eligibility and enrollment systems are handing the traffic well, but we know many of you calling our Customer Service Center are waiting on hold longer than we are comfortable with. We are working on solutions and we will communicate them to you as soon as they are identified.

We don’t know for certain what has driven so much early interest and driving the number of calls so much higher. Our analysis of the rates and plans offered by our health insurance company partners may be part of it:

  • On average, Connect for Health Colorado customers renewing for 2019 with financial help will see a drop in their net premium of 24 percent.
  • Three out of four customers renewing with financial help will have the option of buying 2019 coverage for less than $50/month net premium.
  • Two out of three of those customers receiving financial help could purchase a bronze plan for $0 net premium.

As good as these averages are, we know there are variations in different areas of the state. It is as important as ever that our customers review all their options and look beyond the premium alone and at the total cost of coverage and their own individual situation.

Planning note: Be aware that because of the Veterans Day observance on Monday, November 12, our November board meeting will be Monday, November 19.

In the News

You have probably heard a lot about short-term health plans. The Kaiser Family Foundation put out an issue brief this week that you may find useful in your conversations on how they compare with the Qualified Health Plans sold through Connect for Health Colorado.

Take care,

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