Connect for Health Colorado® Offers Guidance for Open Enrollment

Contact: Ben Davis, [email protected], 303-522-6790

Renewing & New Customers Must Buy 2015 Coverage between Nov. 15, 2014 – Feb. 15, 2015

DENVER (OCTOBER 28, 2014) – Competition in Colorado’s health insurance industry has triggered significant plan and price changes for individuals and families who buy private insurance through Connect for Health Colorado®.

Coloradans will have more choices in health plans for next year. And, there are less-expensive options in most areas for 2015. It is important for people to shop and compare to be sure they choose the best plan to meet their health and budget needs, whether they are renewing their coverage or are buying through the state health insurance marketplace for the first time.

Connect for Health Colorado is the only place for Coloradans to qualify for financial assistance in the form of tax credits to lower their monthly costs.  The amount of financial assistance an individual or family can qualify for is calculated based on the price of the second-lowest-cost Silver level plan in their geographic rating area, and their household income and size. This is true regardless of what level of plan they buy.

Because the cost of that Silver-level plan has dropped in almost every region of the state – so will the average financial assistance levels in 2015 for those who qualify. That means many people who stay with their current coverage will see their share of the monthly premium go up. A change in income or household size will also affect the amount of financial assistance.

We suggest that all current customers – especially current customers receiving financial assistance – shop and compare new plans and prices before deciding whether to renew their current plans. There likely are less expensive choices that meet their health and budget needs – often with their same carrier. But, it’s important that all customers understand their out-of-pocket costs; the least-expensive premiums often have high deductibles and may not result in overall savings if people seek medical care.

Open enrollment will be from November 15, 2014, to February 15, 2015. Whether you are renewing or enrolling for the first time, you must complete enrollment by December 15, 2014, to have coverage January 1, 2015, and avoid a gap in your coverage.

Shopping tips
Insurance carriers have increased the number of options available to individuals and families buying through the Marketplace. In addition to more choice for Coloradans, there are also new lower-cost options.

It is important to comparison shop – and review more than just premiums and costs. Also look at benefits and coverage changes:

  • Is your doctor or hospital of choice included in the plan’s provider network? Seeing an out-of-network doctor typically is more expensive.
  • Lower premium plans often mean it will cost you more to receive care. Find out if there is a deductible and how much it is, as well as the out-of-pocket maximum. Determine what you would have to pay for a doctor’s visit.
  • Check the prescription coverage, especially if you need specific medications.
  • If you believe you will need a procedure, such as back surgery, MRI scans or knee replacement, check how it is covered in the plans you are considering.

Help is available
Finding and understanding your options is complicated.  We suggest Coloradans take advantage of free, in-person help in every county of our state from a statewide network of trained and certified Health Coverage Guides and Brokers. These are experts who can help explain the differences in plans, benefits and costs, and help you through the financial application and enrollment process.

There are more than 1,550 independent brokers and agents, and more than 400 Health Coverage Guides and Certified Application Counselors. To find them in your area (search by zip code) go to https://connectforhealthco.com/help-center/

Key Dates and Deadlines for Individuals and Families

  • Open Enrollment: November 15, 2014 – February 15, 2015.
    • 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, 2015, is December 15, 2014. You must pay your first-month’s bill by December 25.
  • Last day to enroll for 2015 coverage (absent a life change event): February 15, 2015.

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.

The next open enrollment period for individuals and families is Nov. 15, 2014 through Feb. 15, 2015. For more information: www.connectforhealthco.com