Short Term Insurance vs. Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare)
Short-Term Health Insurance: No Longer Offered in Colorado
To note, Colorado has made recent changes in health insurance regulations. Short term insurance will no longer be offered. For people that have short term insurance that is terminating, Colorado is offering a special enrollment period in the individual market for insurance plans. A special enrollment period is available for 60 days. It is starting when the new rule takes effect on September 1, 2019. People whose short-term plans have terminated since April 2019 will be able to enroll in an ACA-compliant plan during September or October 2019.
What is the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare?
Affordable Care Act (ACA) is health reform that was passed by Congress in 2010. Legislation was passed to increase health coverage for millions of uninsured Americans. ACA eliminates insurance practices of denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. Notably, for Americans that do not have employer based health insurance, ACA is the mechanism to gain health insurance coverage.
What is Connect for Health Colorado?
Connect for Health Colorado is Colorado’s official place to shop for health coverage.
Lower Your Monthly Premiums (Advanced Premium Tax Credits)
Important to realize, you may qualify for a lower monthly premium dependent on the size of your family, your annual income, and where you live. This is called an advanced premium tax credit. You can use the tax credit in advance to lower your monthly premiums. In addition, you may wait to receive the tax credit when you file your taxes. Visit the 1st link to shop for an insurance plan that fits your needs and determine if you qualify for financial help. Secondly, check out the 2nd link to see if you qualify for a premium tax credit.
Financial Help: Healthcare Discounts (Cost Sharing Reductions)
A key point, if you qualify financially, you can receive a healthcare discount. To note, Connect for Health Colorado is the only place you can apply for financial assistance. A healthcare discount will lower your out of pocket medical expenses. Some discounts that would apply include:
- Out-of-pocket maximum
- Copays for seeing a doctor
- Copays for drugs
- Coinsurance for hospitalization
Most noteworthy, to receive the healthcare discount you have to enroll in a Silver Health Plan. To see if you are eligible for Healthcare Discounts visit this link:
Types of Health Plans
Important to realize is Connect for Health Colorado offers three levels of healthcare coverage: Bronze, Silver, & Gold.
Bronze Plan: If you are healthy and wish to pay less for monthly premiums but more for cost of healthcare services.
Silver Plan: If you qualify for the healthcare discounts, the silver plan is the one you sign up for in tandem.
Gold Plan: If you have medical conditions, you may want to pay a higher premium to bring down your cost for medical expenses.
What is Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid)?
Health First (Colorado’s Medicaid) is Colorado’s free health care for those individuals that qualify. It is based on financial need. You can enroll anytime during the year with no open enrollment period. Check out this link to see if you meet the financial criteria:
In summary, Short Term Insurance no longer exists for Coloradoans. The ACA or Obamacare is health reform to provide health coverage for more Americans. To point out, Connect for Health Colorado is Colorado’s official marketplace for health insurance. There are ways to get financial help if you qualify according to your income level. Finally, there are three levels of health insurance offered thru Connect for Health Colorado: Bronze, Silver, & Gold.
Contact Southwest Colorado Patient Advocate for help with enrolling in a health insurance plan.