Are you satisfied with and understand your current health insurance plan? If you’re like many Coloradans, you may actually spend more time thinking about what flavors you want in your Starbucks coffee than what services and procedures your insurance plan covers. It’s time for a change. Whether you know you need a new plan or are just curious to compare options, you’ll have a broad range of choices later this year when Connect for Health Colorado, Colorado’s health insurance marketplace, opens in October. Connect for Health Colorado will be the one-stop online marketplace for Coloradans to browse and purchase insurance. It will also be the only place that Coloradans can find out if they are eligible for new federal financial assistance, which is based on income. If individuals or families are eligible, the saving will be applied automatically when new coverage is purchased.
Why Buy Insurance?
Buying health insurance helps to protect you and your family from having to pay high costs when one of you is injured or becomes ill and needs medical care. No one plans to get sick or hurt, but most of us need to be treated for an illness or injury at some point in our lives. Health insurance helps pay these costs. In addition, health insurance helps cover the costs of wellness care that can prevent illness and promote good health. The cost of health care has gone up sharply over the past few decades. A serious injury or illness or other major medical need can cause major financial problems if you don’t have health insurance. Medical bills are the top cause of personal bankruptcy in this country. Having health insurance protects your health and your financial future.
Patty Fontneau, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Connect for Health Colorado, explains how much certain plans will cost based on age and location. “Preliminary filings from health insurance carriers show that monthly premiums for a 21-year-old living in Denver from the majority of carriers will range:
- from $146 to $234 for bronze plans and
- from $192 to $279 for silver plans, before cost-reductions based on income.
Monthly premiums for a 40-year-old living in Denver from the majority of carriers will range:
- from $186 to $299 for bronze plans and
- from $245 to $357 for silver plans.
Bronze plans are the group of health plans for which the carrier will, on average, cover about 60 percent of health care costs and the consumer will pay for about 40 percent of costs. With silver plans the customer will pay less of the average overall health care costs (closer to 30%), but will pay more each month in premium. Connect for Health Colorado also expects to offer health plans at lower and higher costs and with other cost-sharing levels. The health plans are new and include a comprehensive set of benefits, including doctor visits, hospitalizations, maternity care, emergency room care and prescriptions.”
Who Is Participating?
The preliminary filings to the Colorado Division of Insurance include 10 carriers offering 150 health plans. Those carriers include:
- All Savers Insurance Company (part of UnitedHealthcare)
- Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
- Colorado Choice
- Colorado HealthOP
- Denver Health
- Kaiser Permanente
- New Health Ventures
- Rocky Mountain Health Plans
Essential Health Benefits
All health plans offered through the Connect For Health Colorado will provide a minimum set of benefits and services including:
- Ambulatory patient services
- Emergency services
- Maternity and newborn care
- Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment
- Prescription drugs
- Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
- Laboratory services
- Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
- Pediatric services, including oral and vision care
Many individuals and families will also be eligible for financial assistance. To determine if you are eligible, use this calculator if you are an individual or family or use this calculator if you are a small business. Visit Connect for Health Colorado’s website for additional information. Remember, when health insurance companies compete, there should be only one winner: YOU!