Insurance coverage

Nearly 200,000 Coloradans sign up for health insurance coverage during open enrollment

DENVER — Nearly 200,000 Coloradans signed up for health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado during the open enrollment period that ended Jan. 15 — the highest total ever for the program during an open registration.

A total of 198,412 people signed up for a plan through the Colorado marketplace, more than 10% more than the number of people who registered during this period last year.

It’s also close to the 226,680 people who signed up for a plan through Connect for Health Colorado (C4HCO) during all of 2021, which included additional enrollment periods due to the pandemic and post-implementation. of the US federal bailout.

At a press conference on Tuesday, C4HCO’s CEO, Colorado’s insurance commissioner, and Colorado’s two U.S. senators all pointed out premium tax credits adopted as part of the US bailout signed last March to explain why both costs were lower this year and why more Coloradans bought health insurance in the market.

Connect for Health Colorado said three-quarters of people who signed up for plans experienced savings from tax credits at an average of 52% savings.

Tax credits are based on an individual’s or household’s income and vary according to their position on the federal poverty level scale. The state contracted with a group of consultants last October to watch how premium subsidies affect Colorado in 2021 and 2022 when available.

During those two years, people who exceed 400% of the federal poverty level are eligible for the grants, but that will end in 2023 if Congress doesn’t extend them.

The senses. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, the two Democratic US state senators, have both said they hope to extend the premium subsidies.

Bennet said he wanted to extend them at least until 2025, but he wanted to make them permanent, he said, while Hickenlooper agreed, with both noting how much they had brought down prices for people getting insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

Bennet said he thought the odds were high, even in the face of Republican opposition, that Congress could secure a temporary or permanent extension — though he added he wasn’t entirely sure whether how it would be done.

Hickenlooper said he’s spoken anecdotally with some Republican senators who may be swayed because of how falling costs have affected their states, but also noted with Bennet that Republicans are currently opposed to any kind of tax hike, which could become a sticking point for them if the talks progress. Bennet said he wanted to undo Trump’s tax cuts so the wealthy would pay for an extension.

Colorado Insurance Commissioner Mike Conway called the premium subsidies a “game changer” and said they have boosted enrollment both in Colorado and across the country.

Although the open registration period has ended, there is still time for those affected by the Marshall Fire or COVID-19 who were unable to register during open registration to do so through the special registration period for disaster relief until March 16. the qualifying event may also apply for a special 60-day registration period.