It’s health insurance season again, and San Juan Basin Public Health is here to guide you to the coverage you need.
Now through Jan. 15, 2020, most Colorado residents responsible for their own health insurance can get coverage through Connect for Health Colorado and apply for financial assistance to help pay for it. If you already have a plan through Connect for Health, you can renew it or check out your options. If your income, health or family size has changed or will change in 2019, it’s time to review your plan choice.
As the old saying goes: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” That is certainly true in the world of health insurance. There has been a lot of talk and activity around health insurance on both the state and federal level. Contrary to what you may have heard, although most consumers will see few differences in health insurance options, some will see some very positive changes.
The Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare,” remains the law of the land. We still have a great resource in Connect for Health Colorado, our state health insurance marketplace. Through the Connect for Health Colorado website, www.ConnectforHealthCO.com, you can shop for health insurance, compare plans and apply for financial assistance – which can amount to a lot more than you might think. Here in La Plata County, enrollees who qualified for assistance received almost $750 per month. It only takes a five-minute phone call to find out what you qualify for, so don’t leave money on the table.
There are several ways to find out if you qualify for financial help, understand your plan options and complete an application. SJBPH is providing free assistance by phone, in person and at events across the region now and going through Jan. 15. Check out www.sjbpublichealth.org/healthinsurance/ for a list of events or call us at 335-2021 for more information. Of course, you can also work with a local broker certified by Connect for Health Colorado (check the yellow pages or www.ConnectforHealthCO.com) or call Connect for Health customer service at (855) 752-6749.
Because of Colorado’s “re-insurance” program, which reduces certain risks for insurance companies, consumers in Southwest Colorado who are not eligible for financial assistance will see rate reductions of about 30% in 2020. People who are eligible for financial assistance may be able to either save money by going to a different plan or be able to get more generous coverage with only a small increase in their monthly premium.
Individuals can earn up to $49,900 per year and qualify for assistance, and a family of four can earn up to $103,000 per year. If your income is higher than that, plans through Connect for Health Colorado are much more competitively priced than ever before, especially compared to COBRA plans and even other employer insurance. And remember, with plans from Connect for Health Colorado, pre-existing conditions don’t disqualify you from coverage or increase your rates. You’ll have coverage for maternity, childbirth, mental health care, routine screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies, and more with a plan from Connect for Health Colorado.
The bottom line is that both affordable health insurance coverage and financial assistance are still available, and personalized, local help is here to guide you through the process. Don’t wait, though; on Jan. 15, 2020, the enrollment period ends, and you may not be able to enroll for another year.
I hope to hear from you soon!
Kevin O’Connor is Health Literacy Program lead at SJBPH.