Employer-Based Health Insurance
- Health insurance provided by an employer, often part of a package of benefits that can include other insurance and services. The employer may pay part or all of the premiums. It can be large-group insurance (100 or more employees) or small-group insurance (99 or fewer employees). Typically, employees will choose from insurance plans chosen by the employer.
- If you think that you or your family (or a particular family member) are eligible for an employer’s health insurance plan - either as an employee, the spouse of an employee or a dependent child of the employee (if the dependent is under the age of 26) - contact the employer’s human resources or personnel department as soon as possible. Be aware that employer plans can set time limits for joining after a person loses other coverage (such as Medicaid, CHP+ or another employer’s coverage), so you should check with the employer for the specific time limits and rules.
Individual Health Insurance
Insurance that is purchased by an individual for single-person coverage or coverage of a family. The individual pays the premium, as opposed to employer-based health insurance where the employer often pays a share of the premium.
- Individuals may shop for and purchase insurance from any plans available in the individual's geographic region. Plans can be purchased through Connect for Health Colorado - the state’s health exchange marketplace, through an insurance agent / broker, or directly from an insurance company.
- Individuals and families may qualify for financial assistance to lower the cost of insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs, but only when enrolling through Connect for Health Colorado.
- If you experience certain changes in your life, including losing an employer’s health insurance, losing eligibility for Medicaid or CHP+, certain changes in your income, moving, getting married or having a baby (collectively called “qualifying life events”), you are eligible for a 60-day period of time where you can enroll in an individual plan, even if it is outside of the annual open enrollment period of Nov. 1 - Jan. 15. Connect for Health Colorado has a full list of these Qualifying Life Events.
- Dependent children who are under age 26 are eligible to be included as family members under a parent’s coverage.
Government Health Plans
Plans administered by the government such as Medicaid, CHP+, Medicare or programs for members of the military and their families (Veterans’ Administration [VA] and TRICARE). If you believe you may be eligible for any of these, refer to the following information.
- Health First Colorado, Colorado’s Medicaid Program - A public health insurance for qualifying Coloradans. It is funded jointly by the federal government and Colorado state government.
- Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) - A public, low-cost health insurance for certain children and pregnant women.
- Medicare - A program for people age 65 or older or people under 65 with certain disabilities or end-stage renal disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant). People who are, or who will soon be, eligible for Medicare are encouraged to contact the Colorado SHIP (State Health Insurance assistance Program), an assistance program that helps people navigate the Medicare system, and provides free, unbiased and individualized information. Housed within the Division of Insurance, Colorado SHIP has 17 local locations at partner agencies around the state.
- Colorado Locations of Veterans’ Health Administration Offices