The upcoming changes to Health First Colorado (Colorado Medicaid), Connect for Health Colorado and Colorado Connect make this year possibly the most significant Open Enrollment since the beginning of the Affordable Care Act.
Medicaid Unwind, end of the Family Glitch, a new insurance provider available on Connect for Health Colorado and the limited subsidies for the OmniSalud Program on Colorado Connect are some examples of big changes happening between this year and next. San Juan Basin Public Health’s Health Insurance Literacy team is here to help sort through these changes and help connect you to affordable and comprehensive health coverage.
Here’s what you need to know:
We are currently in the midst of the Medicaid Unwind. During the Public Health Emergency, Medicaid members were kept on Medicaid even if they were no longer considered eligible. Since the Public Health Emergency ended in May 2023, all Medicaid members in the state of Colorado will be up for renewal. In this 14-month process, households will be sent a recertification packet either in the mail or on the PEAK website during the month in which they initially applied. To continue Medicaid coverage, members are required to complete, sign, and turn their recertification packets by the due date, or their coverage will end. Anyone who is no longer eligible for Medicaid is granted a Special Enrollment Period with their employer coverage or with Connect for Health Colorado to apply for tax credits and enroll in a plan on the Marketplace. If you are on Health First Colorado (Colorado Medicaid Program), update your contact information as soon as possible. The state will use this information to notify you of actions needed to continue or update your source of coverage.
In addition to Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and Rocky Mountain Health Plans, there will be a new carrier available in our area: Elevate Health Plans. This means that community members will have access to more plans to choose from on the Connect for Health Colorado Marketplace. It is important to update your information and review your options on Connect for Health Colorado to see what plan best fits your needs.
This upcoming year also marks the second year that the Family Glitch was fixed. Since the Affordable Care Act was passed, family members who are offered health insurance through a spouse or parent’s employer were unlikely to receive tax credits. If the employer coverage was deemed affordable to the employee themselves, it would be considered “affordable” for the rest of the family. This was termed the “Family Glitch.” In 2023, the premium cost for the additional family members will be taken into consideration. If it is deemed that adding family members to the plan would be unaffordable (premiums costing more than 9.61% of household income for 2022 and/or 9.12% for 2023), the uninsured family members will be eligible for tax credits on Connect for Health Colorado’s Marketplace, lowering monthly costs for health insurance.
This is the second year in which Coloradans who are undocumented can compare and enroll into health plans on Colorado Connect, Connect for Health Colorado’s secure online platform. The plans available will be the same Standardized Plans offered on Connect for Health Colorado through Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and Rocky Mountain Health Plans. Some individuals, depending on income, may be eligible for a plan at no monthly cost through the OmniSalud Program. Anyone currently enrolled in the OmniSalud program will need to reapply for 2024 during Open Enrollment. Although an increase from last year, there are only 11,000 subsidies available for plan year 2024.
Connect for Health Colorado and Colorado Connect’s Open Enrollment period occurs Nov. 1 to Jan 15. This is an opportunity to shop for plans for 2024. Apply or re-enroll on Connect for Health Colorado or Colorado Connect before Dec. 15 for coverage to start Jan. 1.
If you are on Health First Colorado (Colorado Medicaid Program), update your contact information as soon as possible. You will be receiving or have already received your recertification packet to redetermine your eligibility for the Medicaid program. If you do not complete, sign and turn in your packet on time, your health coverage will end.
As always, the Certified Connect for Health Colorado Health Coverage Guides at San Juan Basin Public Health are here to help you navigate this Open Enrollment. Please contact our Health Insurance Literacy team at HIL@sjbpublichealth.org or call us at 335-2028 to set up an appointment or ask any questions.
Emma Tomlinson is the Health Insurance Literacy Program supervisor for San Juan Basin Public Health. Reach her at HIL@sjbpublichealth.org.