It is a harsh reality that we all need medical care or treatment at some point or other in our life. The high expenses of medical care can financially drain us and so to have financial protection for such adverse conditions, we need to have health insurance coverage. The federal government requires residents of Colorado like any other state to have health insurance coverage. Colorado’s health care laws allow people to have access to health insurance. Colorado has a state-run health insurance marketplace called Connect for Health Colorado marketplace from where many residents can obtain private individual health insurance coverage as per their needs and budget. This marketplace is used by individuals and families who require purchasing their own health coverage and by people who are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP based on their income.
Colorado, a Leader in Health Reform
Colorado from the long back is a pioneer in terms of healthcare reform, and even before the ACA implemented reform on a federal level, the state has banned gender-based premiums and had made maternity coverage mandatory in the individual insurance market. The state introduced a reinsurance program in 2020 and used 1332 waivers to obtain funding for reinsurance to reduce unsubsidized health insurance premiums and stabilize the state individual health insurance market. As a result, individual health insurance premiums in Colorado dropped by an average of 20% in 2020, and the overall average rate further reduced by 1.4% in 2021.
Vital Updates on Colorado Health Insurance Marketplace
- Around 167,000 Colorado residents enrolled in 2020 health plans through the state health insurance marketplace.
- Colorado has a state-run health insurance marketplace.
- The special enrollment period in Colorado runs through August 15, 2021, to handle the COVID situation.
- Colorado residents may qualify for new subsidies available under the American Rescue Plan.
- In Colorado, eight health insurers are offering health coverage through the Colorado health insurance marketplace.
Different Tiers of Metal Plans in Colorado
Colorado residents shopping for individual health plans at Connect for Health marketplace will find plans in different metal-tier ranging from Bronze, Silver, and Gold metal-tier. Plans of higher metal-tier like Gold have expensive premiums and lower out-of-pocket maximums and deductibles. Compared to Gold plans, bronze plans are the least expensive, as the monthly premiums of these plans are the lowest but these plans have the highest copays and coinsurance costs in the ACA marketplace. That means the policyholders of Bronze plans have to bear more out-of-pocket expenses on getting sick compared to other categories of metal plans. These plans even have a high deductible. Thus, a Bronze plan is best for the people who rarely go to the doctor. A person who frequently visits the doctor should not opt for a bronze metal-tier plan.
Silver health plans are often considered ideal plans for a majority of people, as these plans have moderate monthly premiums and have lower deductibles for most of the health care services, and most of the basic medical services are covered under this plan, besides all these an increasing number of healthcare services are offered with co-payments. These plans are best for individuals and families that regularly use medical care during the year and require treatment for minor health conditions. Individuals having Silver plans may pay a little more in terms of cost each month, but they can save thousands of dollars each year if they require medical treatment.
Average Cost of Health Insurance in Colorado by Metal-Tier
Colorado health insurance marketplace, Connect for Health, offers individual health plans in three different metal-tier categories, Bronze, Silver, and Gold. The monthly premiums of health plans in these categories vary, with Gold plans being the most expensive and Bronze plans being the least expensive. Besides, metal tier age is another aspect that is taken into account while determining the monthly health insurance premium for an individual.
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Private Health Insurance Options in Colorado
Colorado residents while shopping for private individual health insurance plans should start their shopping by considering it first with Silver plans. Because this plan is an affordable plan having modest premiums and even the deductible amount and out-of-pocket maximum amount ranges between bronze and gold tiers. These plans are a great option for a variety of people who don’t have clarity regarding their health. Extremely healthy people or individuals who can absorb a very high deductible or people who are expecting several large medical expenses should consider some other options. Colorado residents from April 1, 2021, to August 15, 2021, enrolling in Marketplace coverage can take benefit of lower premiums and can even have access to financial assistance during the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 announced by the Biden administration. The cheapest Silver health plan in Colorado is the KP CO Silver 2500/25 plan having a monthly premium of $403. Some of the other popular private plans available in Colorado include:
- Silver 5000 Rx Copay
- Oscar Silver Saver 2
- Bronze 8550 Rx Copay
- Friday Gold Rx Copay X
- KP CO Silver 2500/25
Health Insurance Carriers available in Colorado
Currently, eight health insurance companies are offering individual health insurance plans through the state exchange in Colorado. Three of the state’s insurance carriers, Oscars, Cigna, and Rocky Mountain, have expanded their coverage areas in Colorado. The eight carriers include:
- Bright Health
- Denver Health Medical Plan
- Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield
- Rocky Mountain Health Plans
- Kaiser Permanente