Last week at the La Plata Health Summit, Dr. Jay Want said it well when he said, “Health care is at a point of massive change.” He went on to suggest that no matter where people are on the political spectrum, the current system is not sustainable, and something has to happen. Therefore, the best thing we can do locally is to work together and adapt.
Legislative changes include a new, additional way to shop for insurance. Colorado is ahead of many states in meeting this requirement and has named the marketplace “Connect for Health Colorado.” Open enrollment will begin Tuesday and will end March 31, 2014. Coverage will begin as early as Jan. 1, 2014, if you purchase insurance by Dec. 15.
For more than six years, La Plata Family Centers Coalition, a United Way partner agency, has been a medical application-assistance site for Medicaid and CHP+ enrollment, with bilingual health advocates who provide individual assistance. Recently, LPFCC and San Juan Basin Health Department have been awarded grants from Connect for Health Colorado to provide community assistance through the efforts of Health Coverage Guides.
The marketplace will allow individuals, families and small businesses to compare health plans, get answers to questions, determine eligibility for tax credits and to ultimately enroll in a health plan that meets their needs and budgets.
Here’s what you can expect when the marketplace opens:
Choose and enroll in a health plan any time from October 2013 through March 2014 (after that, open enrollment will be yearly from October 15 to December 7).
Coverage will begin as early as Jan. 1, 2014.
You cannot be turned down for coverage because of a pre-existing condition.
You will not be asked to provide your health history, other than whether you use tobacco or if you are pregnant.
Quickly browse prices and benefits and get an estimate of your possible savings based on income, before filling out an application for coverage and financial assistance.
Find information from major insurers in an easy-to-understand way with side-by-side comparisons.
Select medical plans that include dental benefits, or choose plans separately.
Connect for Health Colorado can help you determine if you or your family members are eligible for Medicaid or Child Health Plan Plus.
Connect for Health Colorado is the only place where you can access new federal financial assistance, based on income, to reduce your costs.
Select a plan based on your preferred medical provider, deductible or premium amount.
Health Coverage Guides can help you at any point in the process – in person, over the phone or by email.
For assistance, call the La Plata Family Centers Coalition at one of its three offices: Durango, 385-4747; Bayfield, 749-4553; or Department of Human Services, 382-6122; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also contact San Juan Basin Health Department in Durango at 335-2021 or Pagosa Springs at 264-2409, ext. 203.
Health Coverage Guides are here to help. Please call for questions or an appointment today.
Lynn Urban is president and CEO of United Way of Southwest Colorado.