Open Enrollment Optimism

To Our Valued Stakeholders,

What a year it’s been in the healthcare policy world. This week, with a mix of good news at the state level and new uncertainty at the federal level, has been no exception.

We are happy to see that the state has found the resources to extend the Child Health Insurance Program (CHP+ in Colorado) through February and that Congress’ continuing resolution will authorize funding for six months of the program. That prevents, for now, the need to move the 75,000 children and 762 pregnant mothers covered by the program into alternative coverage.

We are hearing from some who are justifiably concerned about the repeal of the individual mandate in 2019 under the just-passed tax bill.

While I don’t mean to minimize these concerns and the lack of clarity the measure brings, I would like to share with you some points that give me and others on the Connect for Health Colorado team optimism as we look ahead.

  • These early Open Enrollment metrics presented to our board Monday show not only a record number of plan selections for the coming year, but also a significant increase in customers qualifying for financial help in the form of tax credit assistance, three out of four obtaining coverage.
  • The financial help is paying 80% of the premium, on average, for those who qualify. These figures are all likely to change a little as we continue to enroll but the emerging trends are clear.
  • Provisions of the Affordable Care Act that protect us from bankruptcy – elimination of annual and lifetime caps on benefits, prohibiting health insurance companies from denying coverage based on a pre-existing condition – remain the law of the land.
  • A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that only 8% of Marketplace customers said they would go uncovered without the mandate.

And, as we progress through this Open Enrollment period, we have heard several positive reports about our Medical Assistance site and improved technology. I particularly enjoyed this message from Kevin O’Connor of San Juan Basin Public Health in Durango:

In general, our OEP has been very smooth. Only a small number of clients could not be enrolled in one meeting, and having access to the MA site has been the best tool C4HCO has ever provided us. A significant number of clients have seen either a net reduction in cost or new eligibility for CSR.  

Advisory Group Openings

Our Board Advisory Group currently has openings for a carrier and a provider representative.  The deadline to apply is Friday, January 5, 2018.  Click here for more information.

We will be taking a break in these updates for the holidays, resuming in January.

With gratitude for your support in 2017 and our best wishes for this holiday season.

Take care,

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