Enrolling in health insurance in CO – Connect for Health Colorado
Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted, nearly 600,000 Coloradans have gained health insurance coverage. But 6.7 percent of the state’s residents are still uninsured, with those ages 19-30 representing the largest group. If you’re looking for coverage, here’s what you need to know about enrolling in health insurance in the Centennial State via Connect for Health Colorado.
What is Connect for Health Colorado?
Established in 2011, Connect for Health Colorado is the state’s health insurance marketplace. It is where Coloradans can enroll in plans that have the consumer protections provided by the Affordable Care Act, where individuals, families, and small businesses can shop for private health insurance. It is also the only place where Coloradans can get access to ACA subsidies like premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions to lower the cost of health insurance.
You’re allowed to purchase health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado if you are a lawfully present resident of Colorado. You must also not be incarcerated or eligible for Medicare.
In addition to health insurance, Connect for Health Colorado also offers vision and dental insurance plans. Eligible residents can enroll in those plans at any time during the year.
How is Connect for Health Colorado related to HealthCare.gov?
HealthCare.gov is the federally-run Affordable Care Act Marketplace. It is where Americans around the nation can shop for private health insurance — unless they live in Colorado, the District of Columbia, or one of the ten other states that have their own health insurance Marketplace.
Just like the health insurance plans on HealthCare.gov, the plans on Connect for Health Colorado must follow the basic tenets of the ACA. For example, all plans must cover essential health benefits such as preventive services and mental health services, and no insurance company is allowed to deny coverage or otherwise discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. The definitions of Catastrophic, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum level plans are also the same, as are the availability and eligibility requirements for ACA subsidies.
How is Connect for Health Colorado related to HealthSherpa?
HealthSherpa is a privately-run Marketplace option with all the same plans, prices, and subsidies as HealthCare.gov. In addition, HealthSherpa is able to help enroll residents who live in states with their own Marketplaces, like Colorado and its Connect for Health Colorado marketplace.
How do you enroll in Obamacare in Colorado?
You can enroll in an Affordable Care Act plan in Colorado by going to Connect for Health Colorado’s website. Alternatively, you can also apply in person, or via telephone, fax, or mail. The Connect for Health Colorado phone number is (855) PLANS-4-YOU and its fax number is (855) 346-5175.
For mail applications, the Connect for Health Colorado address is as follows:
Connect for Health Colorado
P.O. Box 35033
Colorado Springs, CO 80935
You can also call HealthSherpa at (855) 772-2663 to speak with a customer advocate who can help you enroll.
Like all health insurance exchanges, Connect for Colorado has an annual Open Enrollment Period. The Open Enrollment Period for 2018 was November 1, 2017 to January 12, 2018. However, you’re still able to enroll in health insurance via a Special Enrollment Period if you have a qualifying Life Change Event. If you apply for health insurance during an SEP, the insurance company you choose may ask for documentation to verify your SEP eligibility. If this is the case, make sure to submit the requested documentation to the insurance company and not Connect for Health Colorado.
You can browse available plans in your area anonymously, or you can create a Connect for Health Colorado login and apply. If you do the latter, your eligibility for financial assistance will be assessed. This will let you know if you qualify for ACA subsidies, and the plan premiums shown will incorporate any relevant savings. Because Colorado has expanded Medicaid health insurance for low-income individuals, this will also let you know if you qualify for Health First Colorado, the state’s Medicaid program. If so, you can apply via Colorado Peak.
Once you’ve applied for an Obamacare plan via Connect for Health Colorado, it takes approximately 10 business days for the insurance company to process your application. In most cases, your coverage will begin on the first day of the next month if you enroll by the 15th of the month; if you enroll later in the month, your coverage will begin on the first day of the second month after your enrollment.