Colorado open enrollment starts Wednesday: what you need to know

Posted at 5:10 PM, Oct 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-01 19:46:28-04

DENVER – Colorado’s open enrollment period to sign up for health insurance through the state’s Affordable Care Act marketplace, Connect for Health Colorado, gets underway Wednesday. Here are a few things you need to know:

Premiums on individual market up 34%

After President Trump decided last month that he would not continue making cost-sharing reduction payments that help insurers offset some of their costs, premiums for 2018 in Colorado jumped an extra 6 percent on top of the 28 percent they were already expected to rise by.

On the individual marketplace, which covers less than 10 percent of Coloradans, premiums will jump by an average of 34 percent. The highest average rate increase on individual plans will be seen in eastern Colorado, which will see an average increase of 34 percent across all plans.

Colorado’s enrollment period longer than federal period

The federal government capped this year’s open enrollment period for states that use the federal marketplace on Dec. 15. But in Colorado, the enrollment period will stay open through Jan. 12. This gives Coloradans a full two months to figure out which plan suits them best.

Some in Colorado could pay less    

When President Trump decided to end the CSR payments, it kicked in something unexpected: the tax credits offered to consumers who buy insurance increase, thus possibly offsetting the increased premiums set by the insurance companies and state.

“Many customers receiving financial help through Connect for Health Colorado will likely pay less in 2018 than in 2017,” the C4HCO website says. “They will see the premium that they pay (full premium minus the Premium Tax Credit amount) go down by 20% on average in 2018.”

A similar conclusion was reached by the Kaiser Family Foundation, though it studied states that operate on the federal marketplace.

C4HCO will let you estimate your coverage

There are a wide array of plans being offered across most counties in Colorado, and Connect for Health Colorado has several tools to help you decide which to choose. Click here to see all the plans and options for your family.

There is also a tool found on this page that you can use to plug in your age, family size and coverage needs, which can show you the options you, in particular, have to choose from.

Thousands of Coloradans choose to go without insurance

If you're not covered by a health insurance plan, you face a penalty from the federal government. New analysis from the Colorado Health Institute found that approximately 126,000 Coloradans paid the penalty in 2015 -- nearly 5 percent of the state's tax-paying population.

But CHI's analysis found that penalty continues to rise exponentially each year. The study found the peenalty amounted to nearly $700 per adult in 2016.

For more information on signing up for coverage through Connect for Health Colorado, click here.