Top 10 FAQs
The income you report on your application is called your Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI). In general, it is your estimated adjusted gross income (the income you report when you file your federal taxes) plus any non-taxable Social Security, tax-exempt interest, or foreign income you have for the year for which you are applying. Remember to report income changes to Connect for Health Colorado to make sure you’re getting the right amount of Premium Tax Credit during the year.
Information about how to file taxes, including what incomes and allowances should be included, can be found on the IRS website.
You can use the following tools to better understand how income will be calculated.
For the most accurate calculation, be sure to include income from all household members, including dependents with income.
You can apply for coverage and financial help through Connect for Health Colorado in any of the following ways:
1) Online – Complete your application online at ConnectforHealthCO.com.
2) In Person – Complete your application in-person with a certified Broker or at a local Assistance Site with a Health Coverage Guide or Certified Application Counselor. Please visit the In-Person Help page to search for one of these assisters nearest you.
3) Fax – Fax your paper application to 1-855-346-5175.
4) Telephone – Call 1-855-PLANS-4-YOU (1-855-752-6749), TTY at 1-855-346-3432, Monday- Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.
5) Post mail – Mail a paper application to: Connect for Health Colorado Individual Applications P.O. Box 35033 Colorado Springs, CO 80935.
Completing an application will let you know what financial help programs you and your family are eligible for. To receive the financial help, you must buy a health insurance plan through Connect for Health Colorado. You will not be able to receive financial help if you buy the health insurance plan directly from the health insurance company.
To be eligible to buy health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado, an individual must:
(1) Be lawfully present in the United States;
(2) Reside in and/or be a resident of Colorado;
(3) Not be incarcerated.
Individuals who are not eligible to buy a health insurance plan through Connect for Health Colorado can still apply for others in their household who are eligible. For example, parents who are not lawfully present can still enroll their children in health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado if their children are eligible and the parents are not applying.
Keep in mind, not everyone who qualifies to buy health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado will be eligible for financial help. Often, individuals and families who qualify for other minimum essential coverage, either through a job or a government-sponsored program, will not qualify for financial help through Connect for Health Colorado.
For more information on financial help, see “Am I eligible for financial help to help pay for health insurance?”
A Special Enrollment Period is a period of time outside of the annual Open Enrollment Period during which you and your household can shop for and enroll in a health insurance plan. You might qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if you or someone in your household experiences a Life Change Event, such as losing health insurance coverage from a job, moving, getting married or having a baby. Generally, the Special Enrollment Period lasts 60 days from the day of your Life Change Event.
To see what other events qualify go the the “When can I buy insurance?” page
Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Catastrophic are coverage levels. A health insurance plan’s coverage level represents the expected portion of total health care costs a health insurance company will pay. This is also referred to as the plan’s actuarial value. These coverage levels are indicated by metal tiers, as described below. If you qualify for financial help through Connect for Health Colorado in the form of Premium Tax Credits, you can apply that financial help to any one of the metal tier plans, except for the Catastrophic plans. If you also qualify for Cost-Sharing Reductions, it is automatically applied when you select a Silver-tier plan.
-Bronze Plan: 60% of total health care costs will be paid by the health insurance company, meaning you will be responsible for approximately 40%. Bronze plans generally have the lowest premiums and the highest levels of cost-sharing (deductibles, co-payments, etc.). Individuals who don’t utilize health services often may find a Bronze plan is the best fit for them.
-Silver Plan: 70% of total health care costs will be paid by the health insurance company, meaning you will be responsible for approximately 30%. Individuals who qualify for Premium Tax Credits may also qualify for additional financial help in the form of Cost-Sharing Reductions.
-Gold Plan: 80% of total health care costs will be paid by the health insurance company, meaning you will be responsible for approximately 20%.
-Catastrophic Plan: A plan available to individuals under the age of 30 at the start of the plan (calendar) year. (You can also buy a Catastrophic plan if you are age 30 and older and you qualify for a hardship exemption.) This plan generally has a low monthly premium and only covers a limited amount of benefits. Learn more about Catastrophic plans in our Glossary.
An Open Enrollment Period is the period of time when you can sign up for, or make changes to, a health insurance plan. There is one Open Enrollment Period every year for Connect for Health Colorado and other health insurance companies doing business in Colorado. The next Open Enrollment Period will begin on November 1, 2018 for coverage that starts January 1, 2019.
You must have a Life Change Event that would qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period to buy a health insurance plan outside of the Open Enrollment Period. Please see the “What is a Life Change Event?” FAQ for more information.
Individuals and families who apply for health insurance coverage through Connect for Health Colorado may be eligible for financial help to lower the cost of the health insurance plan they choose. Examples of financial help programs include: Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program), Premium Tax Credits, and Cost-Sharing Reductions. In order to qualify for financial help, you must:
(1) Buy your health insurance plan through Connect for Health Colorado.
(2) Meet the income requirements based on your household size (Check the Quick Cost & Plan Finder to see if you qualify).
Whether or not you qualify for, or are enrolled in, other coverage may also affect your eligibility for financial help through Connect for Health Colorado. You can determine which financial help programs you and your family qualify for by completing an application.
A Premium Tax Credit is a financial help program designed to lower the monthly cost of health insurance for individuals and families. To be eligible for a Premium Tax Credit, you must buy your health insurance plan through Connect for Health Colorado and meet the income requirements. You can take the Premium Tax Credit in advance and apply it to the monthly premium, or you can wait and take it when you file your federal income taxes.
If you qualify for a Premium Tax Credit, you may also qualify for additional financial help in the form of Cost-Sharing Reductions. You can determine which financial help programs you and your family qualify for by completing an application.
Health First Colorado is a free, state-sponsored health insurance program for Coloradans who qualify. It is a type of medical assistance program and is administered by the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. When you apply for financial help through Connect for Health Colorado, your eligibility for Health First Colorado will be assessed first. If you do not qualify for Health First Colorado, you may be eligible for financial help through Connect for Health Colorado.
A Life Change Event is an event that allows you to change your current health insurance plan outside of the annual Open Enrollment Period. The specific type of Life Change Event will determine whether you can update your current plan, shop for a new plan, or enroll in a health insurance plan through the Connect for Health Colorado for the first time. You must report any change to Connect for Health Colorado within 30 days of the event.
If you are eligible to shop for a new plan, you will be given a Special Enrollment Period. A Special Enrollment Period is a 60-day period, which starts from the date of your Life Change Event. If you qualify, the Special Enrollment Period allows you to select and enroll in a new plan. In most cases, changes to your health insurance plan will be effective the first day of the month after you select the plan. Examples of Life Change Events include, but are not limited to:
- Loss of your job’s health insurance;
- Marriage or divorce;
- The birth or adoption of a child; and
- Other events that may qualify!
Note: You can apply for Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program) and Child Health Plan Plus anytime during the year.