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, offers a 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 Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program) or the Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) programs.
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 Health First Colorado can apply when they are ready (Note: Health First Colorado does not have open enrollment periods). The next Connect for Health Colorado open enrollment period begins November 15, 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 Health First Colorado.
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.
March 31, 2014: The open enrollment period for purchasing private insurance closed. Coloradans can buy health insurance as a new customer on the Connect for Health Colorado marketplace if they have a special circumstance, known as a qualifying life event, which includes:
- Loss of adequate health insurance coverage (also known as minimum essential coverage)
- Employer-sponsored insurance becomes unaffordable
- Gain of citizenship or legal immigration status
- Change in incarceration status (you were released from prison/jail)
- Loss of eligibility for the exemption to purchase health insurance coverage
- You show that your existing health plan has substantially violated a provision of its contract
- Change of residence (you moved to Colorado from another state or country)
For more information about purchasing insurance after the deadline visit ConnectforHealthCO.com.
Coloradans can still apply for Health First Colorado or Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+). These public health insurance programs do not have a deadline to apply.
November 15, 2014: The 2015 health plan enrollment begins. Coloradans can begin to apply and purchase coverage that begins in January 2015. The open enrollment period is November 15, 2014 to February 15, 2015. For more information visit ConnectforHealthCO.com. As a reminder, you can apply at any time for Health First Colorado and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+).
February 15, 2015: The 2015 open enrollment period is closed on February 15, 2015. For more information on shopping for a plan outside of open enrollment visit ConnectforHealthCO.com. As a reminder, you can apply at any time for Health First Colorado and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+).
April 15, 2015: Unless you are exempt, you must have had insurance in 2014. If you had Health First Colorado or Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) in 2014 client you will not need to show proof you were covered. If you bought a plan through Connect for Health Colorado, you will need to show proof when filing your taxes. Go to IRS.gov/ACA for more information.
November 1, 2015: The 2016 open enrollment period is closes on January 31, 2016. For more information visit ConnectforHealthCO.com. As a reminder, you can apply at any time for Health First Colorado and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+).
January 31, 2016: The 2016 open enrollment period closes on January 31, 2016. For more information visit ConnectforHealthCO.com. As a reminder, you can apply at any time for Health First Colorado and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+).