On Tuesday, Oct. 1, the Colorado healthcare marketplace opened for business, and local health professionals are here to guide locals through the process.
Connect for Health Colorado is the online insurance network where individuals and small business owners can shop, compare and purchase health insurance coverage mandated under the Affordable Care Act. Individuals can also apply for financial assistance through the marketplace to reduce coverage costs.
Plenty of confusion has circulated about the Affordable Care Act, also called “Obamacare,” as well as insurance options and cost-saving incentives available through the marketplace.
“People don’t always know where to go, and they’re not sure what it is,” said Kyle Gateley, a health coverage guide at Grand County Rural Health Network.
Gateley has already heard a handful of misunderstandings. Some think they have to abandon their current insurance plans and others think insurance costs will be overly burdensome for people on the lower end of the income scale.
“If you have insurance already, you can keep it,” Gateley said. “Those at the bottom end of income level will be getting good deals (with tax credits) given to them on a sliding scale. It will actually be a lot cheaper.”
To help shed light on the new marketplace, Gateley and Rural Health Network’s other health coverage consultant, Kim Long, will be holding informational sessions open to the public throughout the month of October. They’ll also be available to answer locals’ questions in person or over the phone.
Nearly 500,000 Coloradans will be eligible for new tax credits, which will lower the costs of their insurance. Those credits will only be available through Connect for Health Colorado. The marketplace website has calculators to help estimate costs and possible reductions. Visit www.connectforhealthco.com or call 1-855-PLANS4YOU.
Leia Larsen can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603.