Guest commentary: Colorado’s open enrollment for health insurance still available |

Guest commentary: Colorado’s open enrollment for health insurance still available

Linda Gann
Guest commentary

While open enrollment has ended for most of the country, there is good news for Coloradans who purchase their own health insurance. Open enrollment in our state continues through Jan. 15.

We are a nonprofit marketplace, available only to Coloradans, which means we have a bit more flexibility in providing health insurance to our residents.

Our customers are Coloradans who do not get health insurance from their employer, don’t qualify for Health First Colorado (our state’s Medicaid program), and need help affording health insurance. They still have time to sign up for a health insurance plan for this year.

Going into the final stretch, we are pleased to report more than 153,000 Coloradans have already signed up for a health insurance plan. Approximately 68% of those enrollments qualified for financial help to lower their monthly premium.

Coloradans who don’t qualify for the financial help will see lower premiums for a 2020 plan as a result of the reinsurance bill passed by our Legislature last year.

Understanding all your options for health insurance can be daunting. That is why we have free, in-person help available from experts located throughout Colorado. Certified brokers and community-based assistants can help you get the right health insurance coverage for your medical needs and budget. Some enrollment centers also offer phone and virtual appointments. You can find help close to you at http://www.ConnectFor​

We know there also is concern over the recent 5th Circuit Court decision in the Texas v. Azar case regarding the Affordable Care Act. As a reminder, the law remains in place while the case moves through the process, and our marketplace is as strong as ever.

Our CEO, Kevin Patterson, responded after the ruling: “I want to reassure our customers that regardless of the ruling by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, the marketplace in Colorado is stable, strong and open for business. The steady pace of 2020 enrollments shows that Coloradans continue to rely on the health insurance coverage and the financial help our marketplace provides. The Affordable Care Act has withstood a variety of challenges since it became law nine years ago and remains unchanged while the case moves through the expected appeals, which will take some time. Colorado has also passed state laws that protect those with pre-existing conditions. You can rest assured that your financial help and plan protections and benefits remain in place.”

After the open enrollment period closes Jan. 15, residents can only sign up for a plan if they experience “qualified life events,” such as losing Medicaid coverage, losing job-based insurance or certain family changes.

Linda Gann is the senior the senior manager for Connect for Colorado’s Western Slope Region.