*There WILL be a new Colorado health insurance exchange.
*Colorado WILL have extended Medicaid benefits as outlined in the PPACA.
Colorado’s New Health Benefit Exchange
Unlike most states, both Republican and Democrat legislators were able to come together and agree to fund a state health insurance exchange called Connect For Health. They did this because they wanted to have more control by keeping things in state rather than gamble with what they would get if they used the federal exchange.
Like all state exchanges, it will open in October of 2013 and both individuals ad families can shop for health insurance. Small businesses will also have access to something called SHOP where they can find a group marketplace. Insurance plans will be inspected by the Colorado Division of Insurance to make sure they are compliant with the ACA (Affordable Care Act).
The insurance companies listed below have been approved to sell health plans on the new exchange. No specific rates are available yet though.
- All Savers: 9 individual plans
- Cigna: 11 individual plans
- Colorado Choice: 12 individual, 10 small group plans
- Colorado Health Insurance Cooperative: 8 individual, 6 group plans
- Denver Health Medical Plan: 4 individual plans
- HMO Colorado Inc. (Anthem): 14 individual plans, 3 group plans
- Humana Health Plan: 7 individual plans
- Kaiser Foundation Health Plan: 27 individual plans, 24 group plans
- New Health Ventures: 6 individual plans
- Rocky Mountain Hospital and Medical Services (Anthem): 2 group plans
- Rocky Mountain HMO: 52 individual plans, 30 group plans
- Rocky Mountain Healthcare Options Inc.: 14 group plans
- SeeChange Health Insurance Company: 3 group plans
On July 10, 2013, the new Colorado exchange was given $116 million in grant money from US taxpayers via the Obama Administration. That money is all that will be given and when that federal grant runs out, Connect For Health must run on its own.
Colorado’s Expanded Medicaid Program
John Hickenlooper is the governor of Colorado and he announced on 1/3/2013 that plans for expanded Medicaid are well under way in the state. He said that the state has found savings that would allow them not to lose money by the expansion. According to the governor the state will not use any funds until 2017 as all added costs will come from the Federal government. After 2017, Colorado will be kicking in up to 10% of the costs.
The expanded Medicaid was part of the ACA that the Supreme Court voted would need to be determined individually by each state. Many states have decided not to go forward with it due to tight budgets. Medicaid expansion is a way to get more low income individuals and families health insurance.