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Eagle County families can save thousands on heath insurance through American Rescue Plan credits

November 15, 2021, 9:53 am

Open enrollment for individual market health insurance plans kicked in Nov. 1, and there’s good news on multiple fronts for people who aren’t insured through their employer and need to purchase their own plans for 2022.

In Eagle County in 2022 there are three insurance carriers offering plans compared to just one in 2021, so the amount of competition has increased.

But the bigger news is that, while the cost of those plans has gone up somewhat over 2021 in Eagle County, many more people are eligible for tax credits as a result of the American Rescue Plan (ARP).

Savings will vary depending on household income, but some families are seeing savings of more than $1,000 a month over their 2021 health insurance rates.

RealVail.com reached out to insurance broker Bethe Wright of the Wright Insurance Company in Eagle (970-376-7444 or bwright@vail.net) to get her take on the state of individual health insurance market in Eagle County.

“Since the inception of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) in 2014, many have received financial help paying health insurance premiums,” Wright wrote in an email. “The American Rescue Plan (ARP) has expanded the financial help available for those who purchase individual and family coverage. With the ARP you are eligible to receive advanced premium tax credits for all premiums that exceed 8.5% of your household income.”

Wright recommends using this anonymous tool to see what your household qualifies for (input coverage start date of Jan. 1, 2022 and estimated 2022 household income): https://planfinder.connectforhealthco.com/input-your-information 

“If you qualify for advanced premium tax credits (this is the monthly amount of premium that will be paid each month to the insurance carrier on your behalf), you must apply through www.connectforhealthco.com and purchase your plan through their website,” Wright added. “The same plans are available on and off the exchange; however, you will not receive any tax credit if you write direct with the insurance company.”

Connect for Health Colorado is the state health insurance exchange set up after the passage of Obamacare.

Wright went on to discuss the new option in 2022: “Anthem has been the only carrier in many of our counties and will continue offering their products in 2022. In Eagle County, Anthem offers both the Mountain Enhanced HMO (local network) and Pathway HMO (statewide network). Rocky Mountain Health will be offering plans with a broader network on the Western Slope and the Front Range, including UCHealth and Children’s Hospital. Friday Health plans will show up in 2022 plan offerings with the most competitive rates; however, to date there is not an adequate provider network.”

Insurance brokers are paid by the insurance carriers, so there’s no added fee for going through a local broker who can help you navigate the sometimes-confusing state website.

“It is important to stay informed and educated, as things change quickly and often,” recommends Wright. “Partnering with a local broker is recommended. Whether you are purchasing through Connect for Health Colorado or direct to a carrier for 2022, it is beneficial to partner with someone who is working with you to find the best plan for you and your family.”

Again, Wright can be reached at (970) 376-7444 or bwright@vail.net.

And here’s a press on all the changes from Connect for Health Colorado:

It’s Open Enrollment in Colorado. For those who aren’t already covered by job health insurance or another insurance program (like HealthFirst Colorado, Colorado’s Medicaid program or Medicare), now is the time to sign up for a health insurance plan for 2022 coverage. This year, many individuals, families and small business owners shopping for health and dental plans can expect increased plan choice and savings for 2022.

“If you find yourself uninsured or are looking for health insurance but don’t know where to begin, Connect for Health Colorado is the place to go,” said Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Patterson. “We are here to help Coloradans figure out their options and provide decision-making support tools, so you can get the coverage you need at the price you can afford. Don’t let this Open Enrollment Period go by without contacting us; you might be surprised to find more plan options in your budget than ever before.” 

New Savings Are Here

Thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act passed early this year, more residents can find health insurance savings through Connect for HealthColorado for their 2022 coverage. For the first time, health insurance savings are available to many individuals and families who were previously ineligible because of their income. If you applied in the past but didn’t qualify for financial help, now is the time to reapply. Two out of three customers who applied for financial help in 2021 but didn’t qualify could receive financial help in 2022.

If you’re currently enrolled in a plan through Connect for Health Colorado and haven’t updated your application recently, you’ll likely qualify for more financial help when you renew your coverage this Open Enrollment Period. Four out of five customers can find plans for $25 per month or less after financial help is applied.

Connect for Health Colorado is also launching a new state-funded program to provide more health care savings to people shopping on the Marketplace whose income is just over the limit to receive Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program) and who enroll in a Silver-level plan. If you’re eligible for this program, all you need to do to receive the higher level of benefits is apply through Connect for Health Colorado and enroll in a Silver-level plan. You will see those extra savings automatically applied to Silver-level plans when you are shopping.

When to Enroll in Health Coverage

You can sign up for a health insurance plan during the Open Enrollment Period, which runs today through January 15. 

  • Most current customers are eligible for plan renewal, which means that their health insurance plan will automatically renew on December 1 for 2022 coverage. 
  • After December 1, customers have until December 15 to update their account and change their plan as needed for coverage starting January 1.
  • If you sign up for a plan or change your plan between December 16 and January 15, your coverage will begin February 1, 2022. 

Connecting with Enrollment Assistance

Free help is available from enrollment experts—certified Brokers and community-based Assisters— located throughout Colorado. Connect for Health Colorado also offers Enrollment Centers to provide you with personalized help signing up for a health insurance plan. Enrollment Centers are here to help you in-person or by phone, and many also offer virtual assistance. No appointment is necessary.

To find out whether you qualify for additional savings on health insurance plans, how much financial assistance you can receive and to see all the plans available to you, contact Connect for Health Colorado at ConnectforHealthCO.com or by calling 855-752-6749. 

To browse plans and prices before starting an application, use our Quick Cost and Plan Finder tool to get an estimate of costs and to search plans based on what matters most to you.

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