To Our Valued Stakeholders

We are halfway through Open Enrollment and we know many of you of are assisting enrollments at a record pace. The deadline for January 1 coverage is one week away and our enrollment centers are running full tilt.

We have walk-in enrollment events tomorrow in Aurora, Craig, Fort Collins, Littleton, Longmont, Telluride and Westminster. And that’s just one day. Our calendar is full of events running to the end of Open Enrollment January 12, 2018. Find one near you here.

As I have said, the pace of plan selections continues to run ahead of all previous years but there are plenty of people yet to act to avoid a gap in coverage. Our message remains: Don’t leave money on the table. We know from our own survey that too often Coloradans who are eligible for financial help assume that they make too much to get an Advance Premium Tax Credit.

If you are helping with an enrollment, the first step is to get an estimate of the financial help available.

Update on CHP+

Connect for Health Colorado and the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing are co-hosting a webinar for eligibility partners, counties, advocates and stakeholders on Wednesday, December, 13.  The purpose is to provide additional policy and operational information to our partners regarding the possible end to CHP+. The webinars will provide an opportunity for participants to ask questions via chat. The webinars will be recorded and posted on CO.gov/HCPF/FutureCHP.

CHP+ Webinar: December 13, 2017, 12-1 pm.

  • Registrants will be emailed a link to join the webinar the day before the webinar.
  • There is a limit of 500 participants.
  • Register here.

Take care,

Kevin

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

December 1, 2017
Contact:
Luke Clarke, 720-496-2545

[email protected]

DENVER —  More than 43,000 Coloradans selected healthcare coverage for 2018 through the state health insurance Marketplace in November, a rate 29 percent ahead of signups one year ago, according to new data released today by Connect for Health Colorado®.

“With only two weeks left to enroll for January coverage, I am pleased with the pace of plan selections,” said Connect for Health Colorado CEO Kevin Patterson.  “I know people are busy this time of year but I encourage everyone who buys their own 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. Many will be surprised that they qualify for financial help.”

The month of November saw 43,881 medical plan selections. The total was 34,085 for November 2016. Eighteen percent of the 2018 medical plan selections are by customers who are new to Connect for Health Colorado and 82 percent are renewing customers.

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 12.

Key dates and deadlines for individuals and families buying private coverage

  • Open Enrollment: November 1, 2017 – January 12, 2018.
    • 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, 2018, is December 15, 2017.
  • Last day to enroll for 2018 coverage (absent a life change event): January 12, 2018.

 

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

To Our Valued Stakeholders

We are only two weeks into our 10-week Open Enrollment Period but there is no question we are off to a positive start. Many of you have probably seen the plan selection totals that we released Thursday for November 1 through November 15.

The 22,650 medical plan selections are very encouraging but it is also heartening to see that 19,429 (86% of the total) are customers who have actively renewed. These customers heard our message that it pays to shop. Even though a high number have the option to “auto-renew”, they are actively shopping for plans to find one that best fits their family’s health needs and budget.

Take care,

Kevin

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

Contact: Luke Clarke, 720-496-2545

[email protected]

DENVER — Between Nov.1 and Nov. 15, more than 22,000 Coloradans selected health coverage for 2018 through the state health insurance Marketplace, according to new data released today by Connect for Health Colorado®.

“I am glad to see the number of initial sign-ups during the first two weeks of Open Enrollment,” said Connect for Health Colorado® CEO Kevin Patterson.  “There has been some confusion about healthcare coverage this year. I want everyone to know that the financial help to buy health insurance is still available for next year. I urge everybody buying their own health insurance to take a minute on our site, ConnectforhealthCO.com, to check to see if they qualify and then review their options and complete their enrollment before the last-minute rush.”

The pace of sign ups is running about 33 percent higher than last year, Patterson said. The two-week period saw 22,650 medical plan selections. The total was 16,987 for the comparable period in 2016. Fourteen percent of the plan selections are by customers who are new to Connect for Health Colorado and 86 percent are renewing customers.

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 12.

Key dates and deadlines for individuals and families buying private coverage

  • Open Enrollment: November 1, 2017 – January 12, 2018.
    • 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, 2018, is December 15, 2017.
  • Last day to enroll for 2018 coverage (absent a life change event): January 12, 2018.

 

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

Contact: Luke Clarke 720-496-2545

DENVER – Connect for Health Colorado® Board Chair Adela Flores-Brennan today announced that Claire Brockbank, an executive with a healthcare strategy and business development firm, has been named to the Board of Directors for the state’s health insurance Marketplace.

Ms. Brockbank is a principal at Segue Consulting, a health care strategy and business development firm.  Since 1996, Segue has helped public and private sector clients revamp their strategies to help shape or better align with the rapidly changing health care marketplace. Ms. Brockbank is working with the Centers for Disease Control and multiple state governments on innovative collaborations with the private sector to promote mutually beneficial health and wellness strategies.

She also has a longstanding relationship with the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions (formerly NBCH) to support and promote value-based purchasing.

“We’re happy to welcome a board member with deep experience guiding change in the healthcare market,” Flores-Brennan said. “Claire brings an important strategic perspective to Connect for Health Colorado as we grow the Marketplace and increase coverage in our state for individuals, families and small businesses in a rapidly evolving landscape.”

Ms. Brockbank was appointed to the board by Gov. John Hickenlooper to fill the seat vacated by Eric Grossman for a term that runs through July 2020.

The Connect for Health Colorado board has nine voting members and three ex-officio members. They are appointed by Republican and Democratic leaders in the state Legislature and by the governor.

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

To Our Valued Stakeholders

We launched our fifth Open Enrollment Period with encouraging call volume and account creation levels. We’re grateful, as always, for stakeholder support at this exciting time of year.

Colorado media and around the country are drawing comparisons of state-based marketplaces, like ours, and the federally facilitated marketplaces in 39 states. It is helping us get across the longer Open Enrollment period – through January 12 – that we will be having.

Avoiding confusion with the shorter open enrollment period in federally-facilitated marketplaces is a new communication challenge but it is also giving us the opportunity to talk about the advantages of having a state-based marketplace and providing a Colorado solution.

Many stories, such as this piece in The Denver Post, have emphasized the dramatic effect rising premiums have on the Advance Premium Tax Credit.

In the News

While funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) in Colorado, awaits Congressional reauthorization, preparation continues in Colorado. Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) has estimated existing funding will carry the program through the end of January 2018. HCPF is providing updates on its Future of Child Health Plan Plus page, including a sample letter to members that will go out the last week of November, if funding is not restored.

Take care,

Kevin

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

To Our Valued Stakeholders

No surprise, but we are talking a lot about Open Enrollment in the days before we launch what will be our fifth Open Enrollment Period.

Some of those conversations have been with news outlets around the state who are helping us raise awareness about what’s different this year and what stays the same.

On Tuesday, I was with Colorado Public Radio for a Colorado Matters interview and the next day we hosted a phone-in question and answer session for media around the state. I spoke with Denver 7 for this story.

The important points are getting across:

  • We’re ready to help Coloradans buy health insurance for 2018 starting Wednesday morning
  • Financial help is still here and increasing next year to cushion premium increases
  • For many of our customers net premiums will be going down

In the News

While little has been done to clear the way for the bipartisan reform bill that could bring more stability to the individual market and restore Cost Sharing Reduction reimbursements, the Congressional Budget Office did score the measure this week, finding it would reduce the budget deficit by $3.8 billion. The Commonwealth Fund provided analysis.

Take care,

Kevin

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

 

To Our Valued Stakeholders

With all the debate on the future of healthcare in this country, there are a few things I would like to make clear about the situation in Colorado:

  • On November 1, Connect for Health Colorado will be open for business with 2018 health plans.
  • Coloradans who are eligible for financial help through Advance Premium Tax Credits and/or Cost Sharing Reduction will have the same level of help available to them with their 2018 coverage. In fact, net premiums – what the individual pays after the tax credit – will drop an average of 20 percent.
  • We have loaded those plans into our system and we are making the final quality assurance checks on our shopping site as you read this message.

In the News

I think everyone is aware of legislation that would restore the Cost Share Reduction reimbursements to health insurance companies. The bill has several provisions that could stabilize the individual health insurance market. The fate of that measure is very much in question, as this Politico article makes clear.

Gov. Hickenlooper and nine other governors from both parties sent a letter to congressional leadership supporting restoration of Cost Share Reduction payments to health insurance companies and stabilizing the individual market.

As the bill is currently written, it contains a provision for health insurance companies to pay rebates if their Cost Share Reduction reimbursements are restored for next year, even as they charge premiums that were raised on the belief the reimbursements would not come. The bill is in the earliest stages of the legislative process and we have all been reminded of the uncertainty of that process this year.

This uncertainty will be with us for a while but my message to Coloradans buying their own coverage remains the same as in previous years: take the time to check the options available to you, check to see what financial assistance might be available to you and choose the health plan that best meets your needs and the needs of your family.

Take care,

Kevin

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

Contact: Luke Clarke 720-496-2545

DENVER — Connect for Health Colorado opens for business Wednesday, November 1, with an improved customer support tool and an urgent message to consumers: Check your options, you may be surprised.

“We know the current climate has been confusing for many of our customers and stakeholders,” said Connect for Health Colorado Chief Executive Kevin Patterson. “The bottom line is the story is the same. Everyone who buys their own insurance can benefit from taking time to review the health plan options available to them and to check their eligibility for financial help.

“Too many people assume they make too much to qualify for help with the cost of insurance. That is like ‘leaving money on the table.’ It only takes a minute to check at ConnectforHealthCO.com. And even consumers who do not qualify for the help reduce the increase in their premiums by looking at comparable plans in their area. I am urging everyone to ‘stop, shop and enroll’ by December 15.”

Open Enrollment runs from November 1, 2017, to January 12, 2018 but consumers need to enroll by December 15 to have coverage in place by January 1, 2018.

The state Division of Insurance (DOI) has calculated that, on average, premiums will increase 33% in 2018. But because the level of assistance increases as premiums rise, the average net premium (what consumers pay after assistance) will go down 20%.

Connect for Health Colorado shoppers will find an improved Quick Cost and Plan Finder Tool that helps them estimate their out-of-pocket costs including prescription costs in the coming year, relying on claims data from the All Payers Claims Database maintained by the Center for Improving Value in Health Care. They will also find streamlined user experience within the award-winning tool that allows them to complete their estimates and comparisons in half as many screens.

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

To Our Valued Stakeholders,

Our partners at state Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) put out an important update this week on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Federal funding expired on Saturday (September 30). HCPF estimates Colorado has enough money on hand to keep the program operating through January 31, 2018.

It’s important that the 75,000 children and nearly 800 pregnant mothers covered under the program in our state continue using benefits through January but it’s time for them to start planning for potential changes in January. For many, the best option will be obtaining subsidized coverage through Connect for Health Colorado. We continue to prepare for that possibility with HCPF but recipients should sign up for updates through their PEAK accounts and we can all follow developments on the Future of Child Health Plan Plus web site.

In Other News

Congress can act at any time on reauthorizing the CHIP program, which has received bipartisan support for decades. But it looks a little different this year. The New York Times has reported that a measure to reauthorize the program ran into opposition in the House Energy and Commerce Committee added provisions affecting Medicare and Medicaid.

The partisan dispute leaves it difficult to say when to expect the question to be resolved. We continue to prepare to serve that population until it is.

Take care,

Kevin

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