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

Jan. 13, 2016

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

DENVER – Connect for Health Colorado® announced today that thousands of Coloradans would have additional time to pick new health insurance coverage for 2016 through a Special Enrollment Period.

Individuals and families who are shopping for new health insurance coverage because their health insurance company is no longer offering health plans in their area – or because they had a policy last year that no longer meets the minimum legal requirements – will be permitted to enroll in new coverage through Feb. 29. This includes individuals and families who purchased their 2015 health insurance on or off Connect for Health Colorado’s site.

“We have worked with the state Division of Insurance and our carrier partners to give Coloradans in these particular circumstances a little more time to enroll in a health plan,” said Kevin Patterson, CEO of Connect for Health Colorado®. “But I want to remind everyone who does not have health insurance provided through their employer to enroll now to provide financial security for their family and to avoid a penalty of $695 or more.”

Those who do not qualify for a Special Enrollment Period must enroll in a health plan by the end of Open Enrollment on Jan. 31, 2016. That is the last chance for most people to buy health insurance this year and avoid a tax penalty that is expected to average nearly $1,000 per household this year.

The Special Enrollment Period, through February 29 is largely offered to individuals who lost certain types of coverage:

  • Those whose 2015 coverage was with the Colorado HealthOP or Access Health Colorado.
  • Those who were Rocky Mountain Health Plans but are no longer in the company’s redrawn service area.
  • Subscribers of “Transition” plans, which do not meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act.

For help with any health insurance enrollment, go to Connectforhealthco.com.

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

 

 

Event: Understanding your Healthcare Coverage
Host: Connect for Health Colorado Certified Application Counselors
Time: 4:00 -7:00pm
Location: Valley View Hospital, 1906 Blake Ave., Glenwood Springs, CO 81601