Many Routt County residents could be eligible for health insurance financial aid
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Most Coloradans and Yampa Valley residents without health insurance are eligible to sign up for reasonably priced coverage through the state’s Connect for Health Colorado program with the enrollment deadline extended through May 15.
Monica Caballeros, communications manager for nonprofit Connect for Health Colorado, said almost seven out of 10 people across the state qualify for financial assistance for the insurance plans. Financial aid depends on key factors such as the cost of plans in the area, age of family members and number of people in the household.
“During the fall open enrollment in Colorado, 55% of families on average who qualified and received financial assistance could find a plan for $50 a month or less,” Caballeros noted.
Health officials encourage area residents who are in need of health insurance, who recently lost coverage or who will soon lose coverage to learn about options through connectforhealthCO.com, the state’s official exchange marketplace. Organizers say the marketplace is increasingly important during the COVID-19 pandemic as more people are looking for affordable health care options.
Locally, the nonprofit Health Partnership Serving Northwest Colorado can provide enrollment assistance for Connect for Health by calling 970-875-3630.
The enrollment period for 2021 coverage initially closed Jan. 15, but the Colorado Division of Insurance reopened enrollment Feb. 8 to help more uninsured residents protect their health. The new enrollment period ends May 15. The insurance coverage begins the first day of the following month after enrollment.
Caballeros said interest and enrollments during this reopened enrollment have been steady statewide, reporting that 4,683 previously uninsured Coloradans have signed up for 2021 health insurance through Friday.
Insurance coverage in Routt County is provided by one carrier, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, which provides several plan options. The plans cover free preventive care services from in-network providers.
What: Health insurance enrollment for uninsured Coloradans
How: ConnectforHealthCO.com or 855-PLANS-4-YOU; if you require local assistance, call for an appointment at 970-875-3630
Deadline: Now through May 15
Connect for Health information emphasizes the state-based exchange “is still the only place where Coloradans can receive financial assistance to make insurance more affordable.” The website notes, “No insurance plan found on Connect for Health Colorado can reject you, charge you more or refuse to pay for essential health benefits for any condition you had before your coverage started or while you are enrolled — including pregnancy.”
The state’s marketplace provides a Planfinder tool to compare and price health insurance options. Financial aid for the insurance plans is available for one person who earns up to $51,040 annually, two people earning up to $68,960, a family of three earning up to $86,880 or four earning up to $104,800.
Connect for Health also serves as a starting point for the state’s Medicaid program called Health First Colorado. This free or low-cost health care for children and adults is available for families with limited incomes, such as a family of four who makes up to $2,904 per month. Families with children 18 or younger or with pregnant women can earn slightly more and still quality for the state Medicaid program. Residents can apply for Medicaid any time during the year.
Caballeros said Coloradans who apply and qualify for Health First Colorado (Medicaid) and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) will remain eligible to stay enrolled through the duration of the public health emergency even if their income increases beyond the eligible range.
The state’s Child Health Plan Plus is an additional option via the website and provides low-cost health insurance for children 18 and younger and for pregnant women 19 and older.
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