Connect for Health Colorado is the only place you can apply for financial help to lower the cost of health insurance. The financial help you can get to lower your monthly payment is called a Premium Tax Credit. Due to the American Rescue Plan, Coloradans are eligible for more health savings than ever before.
More savings for more people than ever before
Whether you are just hearing about us for the first time, or have been here in the past but didn’t qualify for help paying for health insurance at the time – it’s worth a look now.
Plans as low as $0 if you receive(d) unemployment benefits in 2021
If you received unemployment benefits for at least one week in 2021, you may qualify for financial help that makes some plan options $0/month for the rest of 2021. This $0 premium option is only available when you shop for health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado.
We will provide your household with tax credits that will cover the entire cost of the premium for the second-lowest-cost Silver plan in your area- also called the benchmark plan. You can apply that amount to any plan, though. That means you can purchase a more expensive plan than the benchmark, and the cost would be the difference between the cost of the plan and the benchmark plan.
The most common reason you may not qualify for this financial help is if you have access to affordable health insurance coverage through an employer, or your spouse’s employer, or Health First Colorado (Medicaid) or Child Health Plan Plus.
TIP: Unemployment benefits should be reported as income in your Connect for Health Colorado application. You will still report the premium tax credits you received with the IRS when you file your 2021 federal income tax return.
Craig from Grand Junction, CO got a plan for $59 per month
In almost every case, yes. You can use financial help to buy any health insurance plan sold through Connect for Health Colorado. The only exception is for young adults under the age of 30. Young adults are uniquely offered Catastrophic plans but cannot receive financial help to purchase a Catastrophic plan.
The amount of financial help you can receive is based on your family’s specific situation, including your income, age, family’s size, where you live and your family’s estimated annual income.
When you apply through Connect for Health Colorado, you will enter your personal and financial information to find out how much financial assistance you are eligible for. When you first apply, you can choose whether to use all, some or none of the tax credits to lower your monthly premiums. The premiums will automatically be shown lowered to the correct amount.
When you file your taxes at the end of the year, the I.R.S will double-check to make sure you got the correct amount of tax credit, based on what your actual income and family size was for that year. Some families may get more money through the filing process, while others may have to pay money back if their estimates were inaccurate.
Important: If your income changes significantly, you should report your change in income to Connect for Health Colorado so that your monthly premium can be adjusted.
If you have an offer of health insurance from your job, you will most likely not be eligible for financial help to lower your monthly premiums through Connect for Health Colorado. However, most Coloradans are still able to purchase a plan through Connect for Health Colorado.
If your family size changes, you should report the change to Connect for Health Colorado. A change in your family size qualifies you for a special enrollment period.
If your income changes during the year, you may be eligible to switch into a plan with healthcare discounts that lower your out-of-pocket costs when you go to the doctor.
These changes could also result in an increased tax credit or it could cause you to owe money to the IRS. Call us within 30 days so we can help adjust the amount of financial help you receive. That way, you won’t have any surprises when you file your income taxes.
Tips for managing your financial help
You might want to only take as much financial help as you need each month.
When you apply, you can decide to use some or all the financial help you qualify for in advance, or wait to get a credit on your tax return.
Why would you want to do this? So you can avoid having to pay any money back.
Here’s more on why: The financial help available to you—a tax credit made available through the government and only available when you apply and buy through Connect for Health Colorado—will be based on what you estimate your annual income and family size will be that year.
When you file your federal income taxes, the I.R.S will double-check to make sure you got the correct amount of tax credit, based on what your actual income and family size was for that year. And they will make it right through your taxes—some families may get more money, while others may have to pay money back if their estimates were not correct.
If you think your income may increase or you plan to move throughout the year, it’s best to take only some of the financial help each month or wait and take it all as a lump sum as a tax credit on your tax return, so you can avoid having to pay any money back.
Log-in to report changes in your income during the year after you sign up.
Reporting the changes to Connect for Health Colorado during the year lowers your risk of having to repay some or all the financial help you received because we can help make any necessary adjustments throughout the year.
Who cannot get financial help?
Coloradans who have an offer of affordable health insurance, even if they do not sign-up for that coverage, are not eligible for financial help through Connect for Health Colorado. Some examples include:
- Health First Colorado (Medicaid)
- Your employer or your spouse’s employer
- The Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) program
* Please note that this list does not include all eligibility criteria.
People who don’t qualify for financial help because they can enroll in other affordable coverage can still enroll in a health plan through Connect for Health Colorado, but at full price. Make sure you tell us about any other health coverage you have access to when you apply through Connect for Health Colorado.