What is health insurance?
Health insurance is a contract between you and your insurance company. You buy a plan or policy, and the company agrees to pay part of your medical expenses when you get sick or hurt. A typical health insurance policy also covers preventive care, such as vaccines and checkups, to keep you healthy. To buy insurance, you will pay a set amount – a premium – usually every month and you will have other costs, such as deductibles, co-pays or co-insurance. Health plans will typically provide access to a provider network – a group of doctors, clinics, hospitals and other medical sites. If you seek care outside of this network of providers, your insurance may not pay for the services or pay a much lower amount.
Why is it important for me to buy health insurance?
Buying health insurance helps to protect you and your family from having to pay high costs when one of you is injured or becomes ill and needs medical care. No one plans to get sick or hurt, but most of us need to be treated for an illness or injury at some point in our lives. Health insurance helps pay these costs. In addition, health insurance helps cover the costs of wellness care that can prevent illness and promote good health.
The cost of health care has gone up sharply over the past few decades. A serious injury or illness or other major medical need can cause major financial problems if you don’t have health insurance. Medical bills are the top cause of personal bankruptcy in this country. Having health insurance protects your health and your financial future.
How do I buy health insurance?
Many people get health insurance through their job. Others buy it themselves directly from an insurance company, a website, an agent or broker. If you are buying insurance on your own, you will find many different kinds of health plans, with a wide range of costs and services that are covered. You will want to pay close attention to the benefits that are offered and which care providers your policy covers, as these factors can make a big difference in your costs and the quality of care you’ll receive if you become sick. Starting in October, you can also buy health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado.
How can Connect for Health Colorado help me?
Starting in October, Connect for Health Colorado is a one-stop online marketplace where individuals, families and businesses can shop for health insurance. You can compare health plans from the major insurance carriers, as well as new companies and non-profits, side-by-side and choose a plan that suits your budget and life circumstances. Our service representatives can help you online, over the phone or in person. Connect for Health Colorado will be the only place where Coloradans can access new federal financial assistance, based on income, to reduce the cost of health insurance. Through our online marketplace, you will be able to see if you qualify for a new kind of tax credit to lower the cost of your premium and reduce your co-pays and deductibles. The new kind of tax credit will generally be available to individuals earning between about $15,000 and $46,000 a year, couples earning between about $20,000 and $62,000 a year, and families of four earning between about $31,000 and $94,000 a year. If you qualify, you can use those benefits right away. This cost-savings program is for individuals, couples and families who need health insurance, are not eligible for public health coverage such as Medicare and Medicaid, and do not have access to affordable coverage through a large employer.