To Our Valued Stakeholders,

As I shared with you back in March, we are continually looking to modernize our technology to make things easier for our customers. This week, we announced that Coloradans shopping for health insurance can now preview health plans and estimate their costs on their mobile devices and tablets using our Quick Cost and Plan Finder tool.

We’ve optimized the tool for mobile browsing because we understand that mobile use of technology can provide a smoother experience for Coloradans who do not have immediate access to traditional desktops and laptops.

This is one step in our continuous technology improvement. Development is also underway to optimize the complete application for mobile devices. I’ll continue to share our progress on technology enhancements through the year.

In the News

The Colorado Health Institute published a study drawing the connection between high insurance premiums and low levels of competition among health insurance carriers and among hospitals, confirming what many believe to be the largest challenges to affordable coverage and affordable care in rural Colorado communities.

Take care,

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

Contact: Monica Caballeros, [email protected]

DENVER – Coloradans shopping for health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado® can now preview health plans and estimate costs on their mobile devices and tablets using the award-winning Quick Cost and Plan Finder tool.

Connect for Health Colorado® has optimized the tool for mobile browsing of health insurance plans as part of its technology modernization effort, which includes a suite of tools such as live chat and scheduling a call. Development is also underway to optimize the complete application for mobile devices. Making the technology consistently mobile provides a smoother user experience and supports customers who do not have immediate access to traditional desktops and laptops.

“We continually improve our technology so we can meet Coloradans where they are and make shopping easier,” said Kevin Patterson, Chief Executive Officer of Connect for Health Colorado. “Creating streamlined tools and resources for mobile devices and tablets means more people can easily shop through our Marketplace, get an estimate of financial help they may qualify for, and compare offerings from a variety of health insurance companies.”

The Quick Cost and Plan Finder tool helps shoppers estimate the financial help they could receive through the Marketplace and calculate an estimate of total yearly costs. Coloradans can also use the anonymous tool to find plans which include preferred doctors, medications and compare from multiple health insurance companies and types of medical plans.

Seven health insurance companies offer plans through Connect for Health Colorado. Most residents who buy their own health insurance have several to choose from. The number varies by location and the tool helps shoppers see all that are available in their area.

The tool does not recommend which plan a buyer should choose, but rather gives people a comparison of the health insurance options. The complete application for financial help and health insurance must currently be completed on a laptop or desktop computer.

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. Since 2013, we have been helping individuals, families and small employers compare plans, apply for financial help and buy health insurance. As Colorado’s official health insurance marketplace, we are the only place to apply for financial help to lower the monthly cost of premiums. Customers can shop online; get help by phone or online chat from Customer Service Center representatives; and access expert, in-person help from a statewide network of certified Brokers and community-based Assisters. For more information: ConnectforHealthCO.com

DENVER – Gov. Jared Polis has named a longtime leader in consumer health advocacy to the board of directors of Connect for Health Colorado®.

Elisabeth Arenales, who helped found the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and was the Health Program Director at the Colorado Center on Law and Policy for almost twenty years, joins the 12-member board as an ex-officio member representing the governor’s office. She serves on the governor’s staff as Senior Policy Advisor for Health.

“We are extremely fortunate to have someone with Elisabeth’s deep experience with the healthcare challenges facing our state join our leadership team,” said Board Chair Adela Flores-Brennan. “Her fierce dedication to improving health outcomes and lowering costs is a perfect fit with our mission to increase access, affordability and choice for all Coloradans.”

Ms. Arenales has been recognized by numerous organizations for her work addressing social determinants of health, including as a community health leader by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and health policy leader by the Colorado Health Foundation.

The Connect for Health Colorado Board has nine voting members and three ex-officio members.

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. Since 2013, we’ve been helping individuals, families and small employers compare plans, apply for financial help and buy health insurance. As Colorado’s official health insurance marketplace, we are the only place to apply for financial help to lower the monthly cost of premiums. Customers can shop online; get help by phone or online chat from Customer Service Center representatives; and access expert, in-person help from a statewide network of certified Brokers and community-based Assisters. For more information: ConnectforHealthCO.com

To Our Valued Stakeholders,

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of presenting to the state Senate Health and Human Services Committee, along with our Board Chair Adela Flores Brennan. We shared a package that included background on our history and role in the state healthcare landscape. We also noted our successes from this past Open Enrollment Period, as well as our commitment to rural Coloradans’ access and affordability.

With a few new members on the Committee, I was glad to have the chance for a positive conversation with policymakers about the importance of our work, and to set the stage for further discussions on ways to make health insurance more accessible, more competitive and more affordable for Coloradans.

In other news, the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI) is seeking comments on a proposed draft amended regulation about enrollment periods relating to individuals and group health benefit plans. The regulation is being amended to allow a Special Enrollment Period for individuals who purchased a short-term limited-duration policy but then experience an involuntary loss of coverage at the end of the term of policy, with no ability to purchase another short-term policy, due to the short-term policy carrier ceasing its sales of all short-term policies in Colorado.

The DOI is requesting comments by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9.

In the News

You may have seen in this week that Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet reintroduced his Medicare X legislation to address the lack of competition among Marketplace health insurance companies in rural areas. He provides background here. I was sorry to see in the Colorado Independent that the senator has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. I wish him a speedy recovery.

April Board Meeting Change

Monday’s board meeting will start at noon and will be at a different location. Please find all the details here.

Take care,

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

DENVER – Connect for Health Colorado® is among the most competitive state Marketplaces in the country, based on comparisons to data in two recently released national reports.

Eleven percent of Coloradans live in counties where fewer than three health insurance companies are offering plans through Connect for Health Colorado. An analysis by the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that nationally, 38 percent of Americans live in areas with one or two health insurance companies offering Marketplace plans this year.

In Colorado, 3 percent of the state’s population lives in counties with only one company offering plans through Connect for Health Colorado, while the national report found 12 percent of the U.S. population live in areas with only one health insurance company offering Marketplace plans.

Seven health insurance companies offer plans through Connect for Health Colorado, but only one offers coverage in all 64 counties in the state.

In a March 21 report, the Government Accountability Office measured competitiveness by comparing the market share held by the largest health insurance company in the individual market in 2016. It found that Colorado was among a handful of states where the largest health insurance company had less than 50 percent market share that year. Both reports note that the cost of health insurance tends to be lower in areas with more competition.

“We are pleased that we compare favorably to other states in the level of choice that we are able to offer to many Coloradans,” said Kevin Patterson, Chief Executive Officer of Connect for Health Colorado. “Increasing choice and holding down our customers’ costs are key parts of our mission.  But these analyses also bring new emphasis to the need to bring more competition to more areas of the state.”

Health Insurance Company Choices by County

Number of health insurance companies offering plans through Connect for Health Colorado

 

Counties Percentage of state population
One 14 3%
Two 28 8%
Three 14 21%
Four 1 12%
Five or more 7 56%
Source: Connect for Health Colorado

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.  Since 2013, we’ve been helping individuals, families and small employers compare plans, apply for financial help and buy health insurance. As Colorado’s official health insurance marketplace, we are the only place to apply for financial help to lower the monthly cost of premiums. Customers can shop online; get help by phone or online chat from Customer Service Center representatives; and access expert, in-person help from a statewide network of certified Brokers and community-based Assisters. For more information:  ConnectforHealthCO.com

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Luke Clarke 720-496-2545

DENVER – Coloradans who get financial help buying health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado®  are paying an average  14 percent less in “net premium” – what they pay after assistance – compared to the average net premium in 2018, according to data released today.

Three of every four current Connect for Health Colorado customers qualify for financial help to reduce the monthly cost of health insurance. The average net premium for those Coloradans is $117 per month, down from $136 per month last year.

“We are happy that we are able to make health insurance affordable for so many people,” said Kevin Patterson, Chief Executive Office of Connect for Health Colorado. “The number of our customers receiving help rose this year by seven percentage points, to 76 percent, an important increase. We know we have more work to do, and are committed to expanding our impact as we work with policy makers, our stakeholders and our customers throughout the state.”

The data are from the 2019 Open Enrollment Report released today, which gives a detailed look at the two-and-a-half-month Open Enrollment period that ended on Jan. 15. More than 170,000 Coloradans signed up for health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s health insurance Marketplace, during that period.

The more than 129,000 customers who are receiving financial help are getting, on average, a discount of more than 80 percent on the cost of the plans they chose, which average $661 a month. Customers not getting financial help are paying an average $500 per month for their coverage.

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.  Since 2013, we’ve been helping individuals, families and small employers compare plans, apply for financial help and buy health insurance. As Colorado’s official health insurance marketplace, we are the only place to apply for financial help to lower the monthly cost of premiums. Customers can shop online; get help by phone or online chat from Customer Service Center representatives; and access expert, in-person help from a statewide network of certified Brokers and community-based Assisters. For more information:  ConnectforHealthCO.com

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.