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2021 Colorado Health Insurance
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Staying healthy is essential, especially in times like these. With a global pandemic rewriting the rules for social outings and even medical care, having health insurance is more important than ever. For those living in Colorado, a state that has always led the way for healthcare reform, individual health insurance and family plans are better than ever.
But choosing the correct major medical plan can be difficult if you don’t know what to expect. Before you compare Colorado health plans, there are some things you need to consider.
Here is everything you need to know about Colorado health insurance.
Types of Health Plans
Knowing what kind of health plan you get from your insurance provider is just as important as understanding what is covered within every metal tier (bronze, silver, and gold). There are a couple differences between the most popular health plans in Colorado.
The cheapest but most restrictive option. With an HMO, you can only use doctors and medical professionals within the network. You also need to visit your primary care physician for a referral.
POS plans are a mixture of HMOs and PPOs. You do not need to visit doctors within the network, but you must select a primary care doctor and get referrals if you wish to see a specialist.
These are one of the more popular options in Colorado. You are given a list of preferred healthcare providers but do not have to use them. You are allowed to visit any doctor you wish, and you will never need a referral.
Why You Should Have Colorado Medical Insurance
So many Americans go without health insurance or forgo crucial health checkups because they cannot afford the out of pocket expense. Many struggle even with a small emergency, let alone a major medical one. But, while health insurance might seem like a financial burden, you should also consider the cost of a single inpatient day or the price of vaccines without any insurance!
Not convinced? Consider this: the average cost of a single inpatient day at a nonprofit hospital in Colorado is $3,119. A state or locally run hospital costs $2,423 a night.
Having health coverage, even just the basic bronze tier, can protect you from falling into bankruptcy from unexpectedly high medical bills. If you choose a Marketplace-approved insurance policy, you can also access preventative services, such as health screenings and shots, for free.
Not only that, but Colorado has been ahead of the pack by offering essential health benefits like maternity care long before many other states. Any comprehensive health plan offered by the Marketplace will come with the essential health benefits, including:
You also don’t have to worry about preexisting conditions! Insurers can no longer deny you for having a pre existing medical condition, such as after effects of a stroke.
Short Term Health Insurance
For many Americans, short term health insurance is considered a viable option for coverage if you miss the open enrollment period or are between jobs. However, as of 2019, Colorado state got rid of all short term health insurance coverage. There was a special enrollment period for those who had short term health insurance so those individuals could find coverage, but you can no longer purchase short term coverage.
Keep that in mind if you are looking for a health insurance plan prior to open enrollment.
What You Need To Know About Colorado Health Insurance
Colorado has a state-run exchange, also called a marketplace. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Colorado abandoned its Public or State option, but it will potentially be reenacted in 2021. There are currently eight insurers that you can enroll into through the marketplace, but you may be able to find private insurers through a comparison website, like AffordableHealthPlansUSA.com.
Most residents of Colorado have insurance. In 2020, over 166,000 people enrolled into Colorado medical insurance. An additional 14,00 enrolled during the COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period (SEP). That SEP lasted until April 30, 2020. If you missed it, you may still be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period if you lost insurance due to a qualifying life event.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Colorado residents spend between $482-500 a month, or around $5,700 a year on major medical plans. That is lower than the national average of $576 per month. If you want to use an individual market insurer, be aware that there is a proposed rate increase of 2.2 percent for the 2021 season. However, the state government has made sure that anyone applying for new insurance can get an affordable deal.
Bronze plans are the most popular level of coverage in Colorado. Around 45 percent of all new enrollees choose bronze. Furthermore, Colorado is one of the few states where enrollees qualify for subsidies, despite the amount of people applying for premium subsidies has increased throughout the years. Because of this, bronze plans have grown in popularity, since they are most affordable.
The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies has more information about health insurance filings and more. You can learn more about past approved plans, as well.
Unemployed, Part-Time, and Self-Employed
Due to the lack of catastrophic level insurance and short term health insurance, where do you go to sign up for health insurance for unemployed people in Colorado? Yes, you could always opt to enroll in COBRA, but you may not be able to afford those policies for long. Fortunately, losing your unemployment in 2020 often qualifies as a major life event and may make you eligible for a Special Enrollment Period.
Health insurance for self employed or part-time workers is often bronze tier, because it is comprehensive without being too much of a financial burden. That said, many self employed individuals select silver plans, since you could be eligible for cost-sharing discounts if you make below 250 percent of the federal poverty level. Any reductions will decrease the amount of your coinsurance, deductibles, and copay.
Start by looking for Colorado individual health plans and branch out from there. Compare costs to see which provider offers the best rate while covering everything you need.
Differences Between 2020 Open Enrollment and 2021
Most states have an open enrollment period beginning November 1 and concluding December 15 every year, but Colorado has a permanently extended open enrollment period. For 2021 Colorado open enrollment, the period is between November 1, 2020 and January 15, 2021, just like the year before it. Those who complete their enrollment by December 15 will have their coverage begin on January 1, 2021, but if enrollment is completed after December 16, the earliest the policy begins is February 1, 2021.
There are currently eight market insurers in Colorado:
- Kaiser – the largest insurer in all of Colorado
- Friday Health Plans
- Denver Health
- Rocky Mountain Health Plans
Of those eight, Anthem, Bright, Cigna, and Rocky Mountain Health Plans all saw a rate increase in their insurance policies. Meanwhile, Kaiser, Oscar, Friday Health Plans and Denver Health decreased their rates, some as much as 12 percent!
Colorado has also implemented a reinsurance program that has been credited with keeping rates low—about 17 percent lower—than they would have been without the program. Whether you are looking for an individual health plan or family health insurance, you should be able to select a budget-friendly policy through either Connect for Health (the state-run exchange) or with a comparison website.
Keep Yourself and Your Family Protected
Colorado is one of the few states offering excellent healthcare at a price significantly cheaper than the nationwide average. You also get a longer open enrollment period, and there are three levels of coverage you can choose. But you shouldn’t wait. Health insurance is more important than ever before—for you and yours.
Don’t wait to start getting quotes for 2021. The more you know, the better prepared you will be in the future. Compare Colorado health plans today. All you need is your zip code to get started.