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|Assess your exchange|
|Federal exchange option|
|Costs remain unclear|
|More ACA protections|
|Essential health benefits|
|Your State Exchange|
By Carla Anderson
Gov. John Hickenlooper informed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Oct. 8, 2012, that Colorado intends to operate its own health insurance exchange – or health insurance marketplace. HHS conditionally approved Colorado’s plan on Dec. 7, 2012.
Unlike politicians in most other states, Colorado legislators voted on a bipartisan basis to move ahead with a state-run exchange. The legislation that established the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange passed in May 2011 and was signed by Hickenlooper in June 2011. While many Republicans maintained their disdain for the Affordable Care Act, they supported a state-run exchange as a better option than a federal model.
The Colorado Health Benefit Exchange is governed by a 12-member board and led by Executive Director and CEO Patty Fontneau. The board began meeting regularly in 2011, as did several advisory workgroups. The advisory groups addressed many operational areas: information systems, eligibility verification, enrollment processes, marketing, outreach and the small business exchange.
The Colorado Health Benefit Exchange will operate as a clearinghouse, meaning all qualified health plans will be able to sell policies through the exchange.
The exchange devoted much attention to outreach and marketing in 2012. It initiated a statewide marketing campaign, defined roles and compensation for the Navigator program, and started building a call center. The exchange is looking to rename itself. The exchange posted a survey on its website in early January 2013, asking for feedback on four names under consideration: PlanSmart Colorado, Health Connect Colorado, HealthWise Colorado, and Health Choice Colorado.
The exchange has decided to limit use of the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchange to employers with 50 or fewer employees for the first two years (2014 and 2015). Operations (for example, the website and the call center) for the individual and SHOP exchanges will be managed jointly. However, the risk pools will be managed separately.
The Colorado Health Benefit Exchange selected a Kaiser Permanente small-group plan as its benchmark for Essential Health Benefits. The benchmark plan defines the minimum set and scope of benefits that all health plans offered on the exchange must include.
Exchange planners expect 960,000 Coloradans to purchase coverage through the exchange in its first three years of operation.
Updated Jan. 10, 2013
Colorado Health Benefit Exchange
The exchange Web site
State Exchange Profile: Colorado
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation overview of Colorado’s progress toward creating a state health insurance exchange.
Bridge program to cover Coloradans with pre-existing conditions until 2014
Health insurance information, stats, news, quotes and more.
Let your Colorado governor and legislators know how you feel about the state's proposed health insurance exchange.Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper
05/06/2013 10:05 PM -- Chicago Business Tribune — Cigna’s chief executive officer announced the company will participate in the health insurance exchanges in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Tennessee and Texas. Colorado will operate its own exchange, while the other four states have opted for the federal exchange.
03/13/2013 2:03 PM -- Colorado Public Radio — Colorado will charge a 1.4 percent fee on health insurance policies to help fund the exchange. The exchange board may also sell advertising and provide services to other state exchange to meet estimated annual operating costs of $22 to $24 million.
10/19/2012 2:10 PM -- Colorado Springs Business Journal — Tony Gagliardi, executive director of the Colorado chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), said NFIB is meeting regularly with the exchange board. “They’re headed in the right direction.”
09/16/2012 9:09 PM -- Kaiser Health News — A group working to select the model for health coverage sold on the Colorado health insurance exchange – or Colorado Health Benefit Exchange – is making progress and experiencing little conflict. Colorado expects to submit its selection and receive approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services within the next several [...]
06/29/2012 8:06 PM -- Denver Post –The state will redouble efforts to prepare for 2014′s growth in Medicaid enrollment, and a consumer “exchange” – the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange – where citizens should find individual health insurance with affordable, uniform benefits, proponents said.
02/22/2012 8:02 PM -- Governing.com–A total of $230 million was given to ten states by the federal government’s Department of Health and Human Services. The money will be used to aid the development of health insurance exchanges in those states.
09/28/2011 5:09 AM -- Denver Business Journal – Colorado House Republicans have blocked the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange board from applying for a $22 million grant needed to operate the health insurance marketplace.
09/07/2011 6:09 PM -- The Colorado Trust – Colorado’s health insurance exchange will increase coverage by addressing two of the major barriers for uninsured Coloradans: affordability and knowledge.