Guest Opinion: Optimism surrounds 6th Open Enrollment


We are four weeks into this Open Enrollment and in Alamosa County our early numbers are already above last year’s record-setting pace. The number of initial sign-ups is the strongest start to an Open Enrollment Period we have seen since opening six years ago.

We don’t know for certain what has driven so much early interest, however our analysis of the rates and plans offered by our health insurance company partners, along with significant monthly cost savings for qualified Coloradans, may be part of it. On average, Connect for Health Colorado consumers renewing for 2019--with financial help--will see a drop in their net premium of 24%.

It’s important for residents to know that Connect for Health Colorado is the only place to qualify for monthly cost savings on private health insurance. In 2018, the average monthly savings for Alamosa County households was $598. As good as these averages are, it is as important as ever that our consumers review all their options; and look beyond the premium alone and at the total cost of coverage and their own individual situation.

If you purchase your health insurance on the individual market, and would like local expert assistance in Alamosa County, you can reach out to:

* Enrollment Center – Dell’s Insurance Agency, (719) 589-3606

* Certified Health Coverage Guide – San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center, (719) 589-2511

* Certified Application Counselors – Alamosa Family Medical Center

* Eleven Certified Independent Brokers – Find them at ConnectForHealthCO.com > Get Help

In addition to our local assistance, we offer an award-winning online tool that allows consumers to easily compare their health insurance options side-by-side. The platform walks members through a series of questions about themselves, their financial status, typical coverage needs, doctor preferences, and necessary prescriptions: planfinder.connectforhealthco.com/home

Whichever way you prefer to enroll, remember that you must select a plan by December 15 for an effective coverage date of January 1, 2019. Plans selected between December 16, 2018 and January 15, 2019 (the end of Open Enrollment), will not have an effective date until February 1, 2019.

The Mid-Term Election: The mid-term election reminds us of our bipartisan roots and the continuing oversight of Connect for Health Colorado by representatives of both political parties.

In a recent blog, CEO Kevin Patterson writes, “It’s good to remember that the original idea for a state health insurance marketplace (they called it a “Connector” then) originated with a panel formed by Republican Gov. Bill Owens. Bill Ritter, a Democrat, occupied the governor’s mansion when the group delivered its recommendation and our outgoing Gov. John Hickenlooper was in office to sign the legislation when Republican and Democratic legislators passed a bill creating the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange, which does business as Connect for Health Colorado. That bill ensures that legislators in the minority and in the majority party share seats on our 10-member legislative oversight committee and each party names members to our board of directors.”

If anything has been constant in our organization’s history it is the inevitability of change, whether it’s in market dynamics, regulation, or the public policy environment. In the past, when confronted with change we thrived.

About Connect for Health Colorado

Connect for Health Colorado is a public, non-profit entity established by the Colorado General Assembly in 2011 to create a health insurance Marketplace.  We are Colorado’s official health insurance marketplace, and the only place to apply for financial help to lower the monthly cost of premiums. Consumers can shop online; get help by phone or online chat from Customer Service Center representatives; and access expert, in-person help from a statewide network of certified Brokers and community-based Assisters. For more information:  ConnectforHealthCO.com

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