The Affordable Care Act (federal health reform law) is a set of health insurance reforms that started in 2010 and will continue to roll out in 2014 and beyond.
Colorado’s health insurance marketplace, Connect For Health Colorado, now offers a new way for people without insurance to shop for coverage and find out if they can get financial help to help buy private insurance. They can also find out if they qualify for Colorado’s Medicaid or the Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) programs.
Starting in January 2014, coverage can begin for Coloradans who are newly eligible for Medicaid and for those who buy insurance through the Connect for Health Colorado marketplace. Also starting in 2014, people who do not have health coverage may have to pay a fee.
The timeline below summarizes important changes in the law since its signing in 2010.
President Obama signs the Affordable Care Act. The Act provides:
- coverage for children with pre-existing conditions and young adults under 26
- no more lifetime limits on coverage or arbitrary policy cancellations
- the right to appeal health plan decisions
- small business tax credits, and more.
Prescription drug discounts and free Medicare preventive services are available for seniors.
October: Open enrollment through the Connect for Health Colorado marketplace begins. Also, Colorado residents who believe they may be newly eligible for Medicaid can apply when they are ready (Note: Medicaid does not have open enrollment periods). The next Connect for Health Colorado open enrollment period begins in November 2014.
January 2014: Coverage can begin for individuals who have purchased insurance through the Connect for Health Colorado marketplace. The benefits can also begin for Colorado residents who are newly eligible for Medicaid.
Affordable Care Act provisions taking effect include:
- coverage for pre-existing conditions
- savings on monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs
- no more yearly limits on coverage
- expanded small business tax credit.