Who Is the Marketplace for?
Connect for Health Colorado is the health insurance Marketplace is where eligible residents can shop for and buy insurance in person, online, or by phone. Connect for Health Colorado is run by the state government. The Marketplace, also called an Exchange, is mainly for people who:
- Don’t have insurance
- Aren’t insured by their employer
- Aren’t included in their spouse’s employer insurance
- Have pre-existing conditions and may have had trouble getting insurance before
- Have private insurance but want something less expensive
- Own a small business
The Affordable Care Act requires that most Americans have health insurance starting in 2014. Medicare is a different program. If you are on Medicare, you don’t need to buy insurance through the Marketplace.
When You Can Enroll: From Oct. 1, 2013, to Mar. 31, 2014. Coverage will begin in 2014. If you want your coverage to start Jan. 1, 2014, you have to sign up by Dec. 23, 2013.
If you have a life-changing event – birth of a child, losing your job – you don’t have to wait for the enrollment period. You can sign up or change coverage within 60 days of the event.
Plans and Costs
Companies can offer four levels of plans in the individual Marketplace: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. These “metal level” plans all cover the essential health benefits in your state. What differs is how much they pay on average toward the costs of the services the plan covers. Here’s how it works:
- Bronze Plan: You pay 40% and the plan pays 60%.
- Silver Plan: You pay 30% and the plan pays 70%.
- Gold Plan: You pay 20% and the plan pays 80%.
- Platinum Plan: You pay 10% and the plan pays 90%.
Low cost – or catastrophic – plans are available, especially for people who are under 30 and are healthy. These plans cost less up front, but they don’t give you as much coverage. They generally require you to pay more out-of-pocket costs.
Costs: Companies on the Marketplace can vary costs based on your age, where you live in the state, and your tobacco use. They cannot charge you more because of your sex or your health condition.
Colorado is divided into 11 regions, and rates will vary by region, plan level, and age. For example, bronze-level plans for a 40-year-old nonsmoker will range from $177 a month (Kaiser, Fort Collins region) to $524 a month (Rocky Mountain HMO, Resort region). Silver-level plans for the same person range from $233 (Kaiser, Fort Collins region) to $562 (Rocky Mountain HMO, Resort Region).
Colorado allows insurance companies to charge tobacco users 15% more than non-tobacco users.
Who Will Sell Insurance in the Colorado Marketplace: Eight companies will offer policies for individuals through the Marketplace: All Savers Insurance Company, Colorado Health Insurance Cooperative, Denver Health Medical Plan, HMO Colorado (Anthem), Humana Health Plan, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado, New Health Ventures, and Rocky Mountain Health Maintenance organization. Three companies also will offer plans for small business through the Marketplace: HMO Colorado (Anthem), Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado, and Rocky Mountain Hospital & Medical Service Inc., DBA Anthem BCBS.