Many don’t realize they are eligible for financial assistance to make health insurance affordable.
The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), is reminding Coloradans about the Special Enrollment Period for individual health insurance that kicked off on Feb. 8. This enrollment period lasts until May 15, and is a time for people currently without health insurance to enroll in individual insurance (meaning not from an employer) outside of the annual open enrollment period.
The particular aim of this period is to help people who don’t have insurance due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, although anyone without health coverage can enroll. If you weren’t able to enroll last year, but still need health insurance, now is the time.
"Having health insurance is vital for all of us to take care of our health and our finances, and the pandemic has really underscored this,” said Adam Fox, Deputy Director of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI). “This new special enrollment period is an opportunity for many Coloradans who are uninsured. It’s important to see if you qualify for financial assistance. You may be eligible for more than you realize, which can help you get covered and protect your health at an affordable cost."
Insurance Can Be Affordable
Don’t assume that you can’t afford health insurance -- financial assistance is available to many. In fact, 70 percent of people who apply for financial help through the state’s exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, receive it. But financial assistance for health insurance costs is only available when enrolling through Connect for Health Colorado.
How much can you earn and qualify for financial assistance?
- Single person - annual household income of $51,040
- Family of two - annual household income of $68,960
- Family of three - annual household income of $86,880
- Family of four - annual household income of $104,800
This financial help available through Connect for Health Colorado directly brings down monthly health insurance premiums. With this assistance, 55% of families who qualify are able to find a health plan for $50 or less per month. But how does this translate into premium savings?
- A single 30-year-old living in Arvada with an annual income of $30,000, would be eligible for a reduction in premiums of $102 per month, meaning this person could find plans starting at $128 per month.
- A couple living in Pueblo, one 42 and the other 45, with an annual household income of $60,000, would be eligible for a premium reduction of $327 per month, allowing this couple to find plans starting at $293 per month.
- A family of four, ages 55, 55, 22 and 18, living in Grand Junction with an annual household income of $80,000, would be eligible for premium savings of $1,164 per month, and the family could get plans starting at $216 per month.
These are real examples of the financial assistance available, but everyone’s particular situation will be different. The amount of financial help you can receive is based on your specific situation, including age, family size, where you live and your estimated annual income.
It is important to know that not everyone who meets the income requirements can get this assistance. If you are eligible for health insurance from your employer or your spouse’s employer, or are eligible for a government program like Medicare, Medicaid (Health First Colorado), Tricare or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), you cannot receive this financial assistance.
Why Enrolling is Critical
Health insurance not only helps provide coverage for preventive care like annual check-ups, but can also help people manage their chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure or asthma. It also helps protect people from large medical bills when the unexpected accident or illness happens. We are also still in the midst of a global pandemic that could impact anyone.
“For anyone without health insurance right now, this is a golden opportunity to enroll, especially for folks who have lost insurance from their employer in the last year and missed their window to enroll,” said Colorado Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway. “I encourage anyone who doesn’t have health insurance for themselves or their family to take advantage of this enrollment period and get covered.”
How To Enroll
People can enroll using Connect for Health Colorado or by contacting the insurance company directly. However, Connect for Health Colorado is still the only place where Coloradans can receive financial assistance to make insurance more affordable. To verify eligibility for this Special Enrollment Period, individuals have to verbally attest that they are currently not enrolled in ACA-compliant health insurance. Insurance companies cannot require additional verification or written documentation.
Colorado individual health insurance consumers who wish to use Connect for Health Colorado can enroll online at ConnectforHealthCO.com, can get help and/or enroll over the phone at 855-752-6749, or they can get free, virtual enrollment assistance from certified brokers and assisters.
About the Division of Insurance:
The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), regulates the insurance industry and assists consumers and other stakeholders with insurance issues. Visit doi.colorado.gov for more information or call 303-894-7499 / toll free 800-930-3745.
DORA is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the marketplace and is committed to promoting a fair and competitive business environment in Colorado. Consumer protection is our mission. Visit dora.colorado.gov for more information or call 303-894-7855 / toll free 800-886-7675.