Guest commentary: Open enrollment on the individual marketplace begins Nov. 1 | SteamboatToday.com

Guest commentary: Open enrollment on the individual marketplace begins Nov. 1

For the more than 1,800 Routt County residents who purchase their health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado, open enrollment for 2019 begins Nov. 1.

This is the one time all year when our customers can change their health insurance coverage, unless they experience a life-changing event. Customers will need to select a plan by Dec. 15 to have it in effect on Jan. 1, 2019. As always, we have certified brokers and assisters right here in Routt County to help you.

This year, more than ever, it pays to shop. An independent analysis of 2019 plans found that if consumers switch to the lowest-cost plan available in their current coverage level, they could reduce their premium by an average of 50 percent. Yet many Coloradans don't check to see if they qualify, wrongly assuming they make too much money.

We encourage all consumers who purchase on the individual market to check out their options on our website at http://www.ConnectForHealthCO.com.

Connect for Health Colorado is the only place to get financial help to reduce health insurance premiums. On average, that reduction takes 80 percent off the sticker price.

Of note:

Recommended Stories For You

• Three out of four of our customers who bought their health insurance with financial help this year will have an option for health insurance with a net premium less than $50 per month in 2019.

• Two out of three of our customers who qualify for financial help will be able to find a bronze level plan for $0 net premium.

• Three out of four customers not receiving financial help can reduce their premium if they move to the lowest cost plan available in their current metal tier. The savings range from 4 percent to 10 percent.

While customers can't enroll in a 2019 plan until Nov. 1, they can get a jump on the process.

We are encouraging our customers, even if they are happy with their current coverage, to make sure they are still getting the best plan at the best value for their health and financial needs. We have an anonymous online tool —https://planfinder.connectforhealthco.com/home — that helps estimate total out-of-pocket costs. This tool will allow you to quickly check your eligibility for monthly savings, factoring in your healthcare needs, doctors and medications.

A top priority for Connect for Health Colorado is community engagement. If you are member of the healthcare provider community, consider serving on our Board Advisory Group. The Board Advisory Group meets once a month and was created to make high-level policy recommendations to the Connect for Health Colorado board of directors.

We are recruiting from the healthcare provider community for one open seat. If you'd like more information on this opportunity, please email board@ConnectforHealthCO.com.

Connect for Health Colorado is a public, nonprofit entity established by the Colorado General Assembly in 2011 to create a health insurance marketplace. Since 2013, we've been helping individuals, families and small employers compare plans, apply for financial help and buy health insurance.

Linda Gann

Connect for Health Colorado senior manager, Western Slope region

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.