Connect for Health Colorado is a new health insurance marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, which goes into effect Oct. 1. Connect for Health Colorado serves businesses with two to 50 employees, Coloradans who buy their own health insurance, are uninsured or don’t have access to affordable coverage through an employer.
Who can benefit from the marketplace:
Individuals who make $15,856 to $45,960 per year
Couples earning $21,404 to $62,040 per year
Family of four earning $32,499 to $94,200 per year can get a break on premiums
Top benefits of the Affordable Care Act:
Everyone can now get insurance regardless of pre-existing conditions
People who buy through the marketplace can receive tax credits
Small businesses with two to 50 employees, who have typically been forced to pay very high rates, will see more plan options and lower costs and potential tax credit savings
Marketplace plans include more preventative health coverage
Young adults can be covered up to age 26 under their parents’ plans
Prediction of 30 percent savings for Coloradoans
Providers must be detailed in coverage and plans will be easily comparable
Adults without children may now qualify for Medicaid
An estimated 160,000 individuals or parents who have children on Medicaid may now qualify for Medicaid. Individuals earning about $15,000 per year or less or $31,000 per year for a family of four may be eligible for Medicaid coverage
There is no longer a three-month waiting period for children when switching from private insurance to CHP+
Individuals making $45,960 per year or a family of four making less than $94,000 per year and are seasonal, self-employed, not insured by their employer or paying more than 9.4 percent of income into a company’s plan, can qualify for tax credits.
Things individuals need to know:
Individuals have to have insurance or pay the $95 penalty
Hospitals will be less willing to discount bills for uninsured
The penalty for not having insurance the first year is $95, the second year it will be $325 and the third year it will be $695
Individuals can choose and enroll in a health plan between October 2013 to March 2014 — after that, open enrollment will be yearly from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7
Coverage begins as early as Jan. 1, 2014
Individuals cannot be turned down for coverage because of a pre-existing condition
People will not be asked to provide health history, other than whether they use tobacco or if they are pregnant
Quickly browse prices online and health plan benefits and get an estimate of possible savings, based on income, before filling out an application for coverage and financial assistance
Things businesses with two to 50 full-time employees need to know:
Businesses providing insurance plans to employees qualify for tax credits
In the past insurance rates for small business segments have been much higher versus larger companies. Now the Marketplace allows businesses to be in a larger pool, which should significantly lower rates and allow businesses offer a wider variety of plans.
Studies show employee retention greatly improves when insurance is offered.
Information courtesy of the Family & Intercultural Recourse Center