Southwest Colorado residents shopping for insurance through the state health care exchange this fall may benefit from an average 30% decline on plan premiums.
Residents who were paying some of the highest monthly costs because they did not qualify for tax subsidies will see the savings, said Kevin O’Connor, who leads the health literacy program at San Juan Basin Public Health.
Gov. Jared Polis celebrated the lower premiums achieved through a new reinsurance program earlier this month. The reinsurance program will provide funds for insurance companies to cover particularly high-cost medical claims.
“This will save families thousands of dollars every year,” Polis said in a statement. “This is just one part of our bold agenda to reduce sky-high health care costs. The days of being ripped off on health care are finally ending in Colorado.”
The promise of savings could drive more interest in the Connect for Health plans in La Plata County, O’Connor said.
“It’s always a good idea for people to review their options,” he said.
Connect for Health typically serves people who are not insured by their employer or government-run programs, such as Medicaid or Medicare.
About 3,000 people purchased insurance through the exchange for 2019 in La Plata County, and about 800 customers purchased insurance through the exchange in Montezuma County.
O’Connor said he often serves residents who are self-employed and have pre-existing medical conditions.
“I get people who say: ‘Thanks for helping me enroll; Obamacare saved my life,’” he said.
Before the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, patients with pre-existing conditions often could not afford insurance, he said.
The two insurance companies selling plans in La Plata County – Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and Friday Health Plans – are also offering new plans for 2020, O’Connor said. Friday Health Plans, in particular, has reasonable options, he said.
“They are offering some very well-priced, mid-range, silver-level plans,” he said of Friday Health Plans.
In Montezuma County, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is the only company selling plans to residents, said Audry Sanders, financial operations adviser for Southwest Health System. The system is advising residents during open enrollment this year for the first time in several years.
Enrollment in the state health exchange opened Friday and runs through Jan. 15.