If you’re like me and can’t buy health insurance because of your medical conditions, take note: Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, we cannot be denied coverage.
Here is what we chronically ill sorts need to know about purchasing individual and family coverage through our state’s marketplace, Connect for Health Colorado.
What’s Connect for Health Colorado?
Connect for Health Colorado’s website serves two purposes: selling and teaching.
On Selling: As of Oct. 1, 2013, you can apply for health insurance from this site. You won’t actually have coverage until Jan. 1, 2014, but you can see what’s available and learn how to purchase it. Two things I liked: 1) You will be able to compare plans side-by-side, including how much each costs; and 2) They represent a ton of insurance companies so there should be many options. They even are including “CYA” plans to attract the under 30 set. And if you’re like me and want to keep your same doctors, the site should let us confirm which doctors take what plans.
On Teaching: Insurance is complicated. Most people don’t “get” it—so stop beating yourself up if you don’t. There’s a lot of information on the site and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I recommend the following pages if you’re dying to know more about health insurance:
- Insurance 101
- Glossary of insurance jargon terms
- An outline of essential benefits that each plan is required to include
It’s possible! Obamacare wants you to be covered by insurance. So it provides incentives in the form of tax credits. Will you qualify? Check out the calculator.
So how do you get started?
You can get started four ways:
1) Answer a few questions and browse plan prices and features (like deductibles, co-pays, etc.).
2) Create an account and shop without applying for financial help.
3) Answer a few questions to get an estimate of potential financial help that will reduce cost.
4) Apply for financial help. This takes at least 30 minutes. You need to have household info like your taxes, income, and number of family members who need coverage.
You’ll have until the end of year to choose the plan that’s right for you and your budget.
Can an actual person help me?
Yes! If you prefer the comfort of another person’s expertise to spending days sorting through written material to avoid human contact (like me), call 855-752-6749. The line is even open on Saturday.
Many organizations in your own neighborhood have also pledged to help. To find support near you, choose your county. A PDF will pop up, providing you with sample coverage options and a list of “assistance sites.” Also, there are many insurance brokers who have been licensed by Connect for Health Colorado to help you.
So, now what?
Well, I’m going to get the stuff I need all in one place. Medical history, tax info, all that fun stuff that’s scattered about my home.
Are you excited to again qualify for health insurance?
I am! I am!
I’ll keep you posted on my progress.