Getting the Word Out

With the coronavirus spreading more throughout Colorado, our teams are doing everything they can this Open Enrollment Period to get Coloradans enrolled virtually.

We are using a variety of online tools to make sure Coloradans in every corner of the state know that it’s Open Enrollment. We’ve started a message board campaign on social media, partnering with several key community leaders to help us get the word out by posting key Open Enrollment information via Instagram and Facebook. We’re sponsoring organizations and virtual events, including Southwest Denver Coalition’s holiday events and the Colorado Rural Health Center annual conference, just to name a few. And our assisters and brokers are hosting virtual enrollment events.

Thank you for also reminding your communities, constituents, friends and neighbors to review their options and enroll before the Dec. 15 deadline.

I wish you all a very safe and healthy Thanksgiving holiday and am thankful for the work you do.

Take care,

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

Staying Focused

It’s still 2020, so it only seems appropriate that we all have a lot on our plates. Despite the Texas v. California court case causing some news as it went before the Supreme Court this week, we continue to stay focused on our current Open Enrollment Period.

It is of note this year that individuals making up to $51,040 per year or a household of four making up to $104,800 annually may be eligible for financial help to lower their monthly premiums, healthcare discounts, or both. Nearly three quarters of all Connect for Health Colorado enrollments are financially assisted.

And, since plans and prices change every year, you can point people to our Quick Cost and Plan Finder Tool to see their options.

We’re getting creative in our outreach methods this year, sponsoring more virtual events to get the word out about Open Enrollment. We sponsored the Colorado Behavioral Health & Wellness Summit this week, and this weekend, we are presenting at the Lucero Small Business Services virtual event for Latinx small business owners.

We are also working daily to strengthen the user experience and appreciate all of the hard work so many of you are putting in.

In the News

I shared some feedback on the Supreme Court case with CPR’s Colorado Matters this week and the Colorado Sun did an in-depth piece worth reading.

Take care,

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

Enrolling Coloradans in 2021 Health Insurance

To Our Valued Stakeholders,

We’re just about a week into this Open Enrollment Period. While election day has turned into an election week and kept the nation captivated, our staff and enrollment partners remain laser-focused at our task at hand – enrolling Coloradans in their health insurance for 2021.

If you know someone who needs help enrolling, you can direct them to our website to find all of the options for virtual enrollment assistance.

We’d also appreciate you sharing the message that plans and prices change every year, which is why we recommend customers review the options available this year. While rates remain stable for most customers, others can see savings if they chose a different plan this year.

Thanks for all that you will do to help us make this Open Enrollment a success!

Take care,

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

Kicking Off Open Enrollment!

It’s official! Open Enrollment begins on Sunday, and we are ready to serve Coloradans who need health insurance for 2021.

Yesterday we shared the news that most Coloradans will find stable prices and increased plans and insurance carriers choices for 2021. I also shared this update during my annual pre-Open Enrollment media availability earlier this morning.

We are asking for your help to remind customers that it is a best practice to review options, since plans and prices do change from year to year. This year, single Coloradans making up to $51,040, or families of four making up to $104,800 are eligible for financial help. Plans are ready to view in our Quick Cost and Plan Finder Tool now, and our application system will be open on Sunday.

While each Open Enrollment Period has been a little different, this one is definitely unique. Our staff is working remotely, and many of our enrollment partners will help Coloradans get covered through virtual appointments. Thank you all for your adaptability, and for all you will do to help us get the word out and get Coloradans covered.

Facebook Live Today

I will be talking with Deidre Johnson, CEO and Executive Director of the Center for African American Health, at noon today to discuss this Open Enrollment Period. Join us on their FB page.

Take care,

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

Open Enrollment Readiness

We are just over a week out from the start of our Open Enrollment Period for 2021 health coverage. We are loading plan options in our Quick Cost and Plan Finder Tool and ensuring all the details are ready with our application system. Connect for Health Colorado staff are busy finalizing marketing and advertising plans to get the word out. We also know our brokers and assisters are starting to get appointments on the books to help enroll customers, so we redesigned and just launched our Open Enrollment electronic marketing materials to better support virtual appointments.

While we are getting ready here in Colorado, I also had the opportunity to share about the good work we are doing on a federal level. I testified before the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight about the flexibility we have as a state-based marketplace, the success we had with the emergency Special Enrollment period in response to COVID, and relationships we’ve built with those of you in our Assistance Network and Broker community.  You can watch the complete Ways and Means Committee hearing (I start at the 37:45 mark) or read the written testimony I submitted online.

Over the past few years, we have worked behind the scenes to create a Public Benefit Corporation, which will help us further our mission by expanding the products and services we can offer across the state. We are nearing the final stages of launching the organization. This PBC will be an important component of implementing Senate Bill 215, the Health Insurance Affordability Enterprise.

Connect for Health Colorado’s Board of Directors recently passed an important milestone in the PBC’s creation, by appointing a Board of Directors to oversee the strategic vision of this organization. I will be a member of this Board, and am pleased to announce the appointments of the following:

  • Marc Arnusch, owner, Arnusch Farms;
  • Mara Baer, Founder and President, AgoHealth, LLC;
  • Lilia Cervantes, MD, Internal Medicine/Associate Professor, Denver Health/CU Anschutz
  • Mitzi Moran, CEO, Sunrise Community Health
  • Brad O’Neill, co-founder, Beyond Insurance/Golden Bee Advisors
  • Amanda Massey, Executive Director, Colorado Association of Health Plans

Denver Business Journal Award

I am honored to have recently been named one of Denver Business Journal’s Most Admired CEO’s of 2020. I appreciate the recognition and am reminded how proud I am to lead an organization with a mission to increase access, affordability and choice for individuals and small employers purchasing health insurance in Colorado.

Take care,

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

Welcome, new Board of Directors Chair

Other than Open Enrollment coming soon, we have a few other orders of business to share with you.

If you attended our Board of Directors meeting this week, you might have noticed we have a new leader at the helm.

Claire Brockbank, a founder and principal partner of Segue Consulting, has recently been named Chair of our Board of Directors. Claire has 30 years of experience as a leader in the health care industry. She brings an important strategic perspective to Connect for Health Colorado as we work to increase access, affordability and choice for Coloradans purchasing health insurance in our state. She has served as a board member since 2017, and I am thrilled to have her in this role.

I’d like to thank Adela Flores-Brennan, who served as our Board Chair for the past four years and remains a vital member of our Board. I appreciate Adela’s collaboration and leadership in moving our mission forward.

Easy Enrollment

During the 2020 legislative session, you may remember that the Health Care Coverage Easy Enrollment Program passed. We have started to begin conversations on implementing this bill, and also this week, the Easy Enrollment Advisory Committee held their first meeting.  Starting in 2022, the Easy Enrollment Program will allow Coloradans to mark on their state tax return that they are uninsured and opt-in for their information to be shared with Connect for Health Colorado, so we can see if they qualify for financial help or Health First Colorado (Medicaid). Easy Enrollment can provide financial stability and improve health outcomes for thousands of residents, many of whom are unfamiliar with the sign-up process, or do not know they qualify for help.

Take care,

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

Advisory Committee Kicks Off Easy Enrollment Program to Further Reduce Uninsured Rate

Denver– Connect for Health Colorado® and the Department of Revenue have named the members to serve on the Health Care Coverage Easy Enrollment Program’s advisory committee to guide implementation and administration of the program. The committee held their first meeting Monday Oct. 12. The committee structure was designed to represent various communities that are affected by the new program.

Advisory Committee Member NameCommunity RepresentedOrganization/Company
Frances CoetTax Preparation, Small Business OwnerAtlas CPAs and Advisors
Jared ColturiHealth Insurance CompanyCigna
Jeanine DrautConsumerInPraxis Communications
Amber Egbert, Co-ChairTax Regulatory AgencyColorado Department of Revenue
Melanie HerrmanBrokerSeasons Insurance Agency
Debra JudyInsurance Regulatory AgencyColorado Division of Insurance
Marivel KlueckmanMedicaid AgencyDepartment of Health Care Policy and Financing
Allison NeswoodConsumer AdvocateColorado Center on Law and Policy
David SullivanTax PreparationIntuit, Inc. (Turbo Tax)
Tanya TrujilloAssisterNorth Colorado Health Alliance
Monica VanBuskirk, Co-ChairHealth Insurance MarketplaceConnect for Health Colorado

Starting in 2022, the Easy Enrollment Program would allow Coloradans to mark on their state tax return that they are uninsured and opt-in for their information to be shared with Connect for Health Colorado, so we can see if they qualify for financial help or Health First Colorado (Medicaid). Easy Enrollment can provide financial stability and improve health outcomes for thousands of residents, many of whom are unfamiliar with the sign up process, or do not know they qualify for help.

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About Connect for Health Colorado

Connect for Health Colorado is a public, nonprofit 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

2021 Insurance Rates Released

To Our Valued Stakeholders,

As the leaves are turning, the Connect for Health Colorado staff has officially turned all of our attention to prepare for the eighth Open Enrollment Period.

Yesterday, the Colorado Division of Insurance released the offerings for 2021 health insurance plans.

I offered my take on the rates: I am encouraged by the overall stability we’re seeing for next year’s health insurance plan prices. While Reinsurance is helping keep rates low for many, we want to remind customers that the average financial help amount for enrollees who qualify will decrease as well.

I also urge Coloradans who are unsure about their options to connect with us this Open Enrollment period. So, it’s important that customers work with you all, their assisters and brokers, to review plans for their needs, as always.

Plans will be available for our customers to start reviewing in our Quick Cost and Plan Finder tool shortly, and Open Enrollment begins Nov. 1.

CoverCo Wrap Up

What an inspiring week! As with many things in 2020, we had to make changes to our annual CoverCo conference. Our staff put together three days of strong programming virtually for more than 630 people who participated from across the state. It was nice to “see” many of your faces throughout the sessions.

I had the honor of kicking off the conference each morning, but Wednesday’s session with Dr. Portia Jackson Preston was a personal highlight. She reminded us of the importance of taking care of ourselves, especially as we get into our busiest time of the year. I took a step back to think about my personal self-care habits and am evaluating how I keep myself healthy and well during these times.

Dr. Jackson Preston also took the time to sit down for an interview and offered these reminders.  

Thank you for taking care of yourselves, and for all the work you are about to embark on to keep Coloradans covered.

Take care,

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

Technology Modernization Efforts

We are just one month from the start of our eighth Open Enrollment Period, which opens on Nov. 1. I’m proud of what my staff is accomplishing behind the scenes, especially on the technology front.

Our enterprise modernization efforts have been underway for nearly the past two years. As a reminder, we created our own eligibility system, updated our www.ConnectforHealthCO.com website, launched a new training system, and now we are implementing enhancements that will help our customers shop more easily.

The recent rollout of our enterprise modernization project gives us more ability to make our own enhancement and design decisions in the future, with real-time deployment, as well as set our systems up to be adaptable to future needs. Our technology team has put in a great deal of effort and these steps are the building blocks for everything we want to do in the future to streamline the enrollment process.

And as we keep rolling into October, next week is a busy one. I am honored to speak on a panel at the HealthCare 2020 Summit, which focuses on health care transformation as it relates to access and equity. And, I hope to see many of you virtually at our CoverCo conference. It’s not too late to register if you do want to join us

Be well,

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

See You Soon for the Virtual CoverCO Conference

To Our Valued Stakeholders,

It’s hard to believe that it is technically still summer with the weather we’ve had this week. Seems like 2020 will keep throwing us curve balls!

But, as the temperatures may be changing outside, that means one thing for us: Open Enrollment planning is heating up.

Every year, we set aside time to gather with our brokers, assisters, community partners, county staff, advocacy organizations and other stakeholders to exchange ideas, get up to speed on any training and resources we all need for the Open Enrollment Period and network with each other.

Last year, we took this conference on the road, and this year, we are taking it to a virtual space. The CoverCO 2020 conference is scheduled for Oct. 6-8. Join us to reconnect, engage in community discussions and exchange ideas to improve the health and well-being of Coloradans. This year’s keynote speaker is Portia Jackson Preston, and she will speak about the culture of self-care and resiliency in the work we do. Register now if you plan to join us.  

Thank you for your support in getting ready for another Open Enrollment Period.

Hope you all stay healthy and well!

Be well,

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