By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon
About 1,700 new customers signed up for private health insurance during the first eight days that Colorado’s exchange was open, but anyone who wants coverage by Jan. 1 must sign up by Dec. 15.
Including renewals, Connect for Health Colorado had about 6,144 people sign up between Nov. 15 and Nov. 22. Of those, about 1,700 were new customers and about 3,400 qualified for tax credits from the federal government that are designed to make health insurance more affordable.
Last year, Colorado’s exchange got off to a slow start with only 204 people signing up for health plans in the first eight days.
“Obviously, we’re well ahead of last year’s pace,” said Gary Drews, interim CEO of Colorado’s exchange.
But he urged people not to procrastinate.
“This year, consumers have just three months to enroll, half the time they had last year,” he said. “Our big message here today … is to get out and shop early because you really only have a few weeks left.”
People who want in-person help can contact a private health insurance broker or they can find free in-person assistance through a statewide network of health coverage guides. (Click here to find help.)
Customers can also shop online at ConnectforHealthco.com and can call for help at 855-752-6749. Drews said about 200 people are answering calls at the Colorado Springs call center and managers plan to ramp up the number of workers in anticipation of a last-minute rush close to Dec. 15.
Connect for Health Colorado is also hosting enrollment fairs and has 13 walk-in centers around the state.
These pop-up shops are located in Adams County, Denver, Aurora, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Grand Junction, Greeley, Lafayette, Lakewood, Pueblo and Wheat Ridge. (To find the location nearest you and hours of operation, visit: https://connectforhealthco.com/resources/person-help/)
“We know that this process can be complicated. That’s why we suggest Coloradans take advantage of free, in-person help available in every county of our state,” Drews said in a statement. “These are experts who can help explain the differences in plans, benefits and costs, and help you through the financial application and enrollment process.”