As open enrollment nears, advice for Coloradans picking insurance plans

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Published Monday, September 27, 2021
by Emily Scott

(Colorado News Connection) In less than two months, the open enrollment period begins for the state-run health insurance exchange, Connect for Health Colorado. That means it's time to plan for 2022. 

Colorado established its own insurance marketplace in 2011 - and this year, enrolled nearly 180,000 people, an all-time high. 

Eight companies offered insurance plans to Coloradans on the exchange last year. In the coming year, for individual plans, the insurers are asking for an average rate increase of 1.4%, which is still being reviewed by the Colorado Division of Insurance. 

Dr. Rhonda Randall - chief medical officer for employer and individual policies at UnitedHealthcare - said when choosing from the plans available, it's important to consider your health needs.

"Anticipate what your expenses are for next year," said Randall. "So, are you anticipating you're going to need to have a certain procedure, or you've recently been diagnosed with a specific condition? Or maybe you're planning to expand your family."

What's known as the "easy enrollment" program will debut in Colorado in early 2022. It'll allow residents to say on their tax returns that they'd like Connect for Health Colorado to determine whether they're eligible for free or subsidized health coverage. 

Open enrollment runs November 1 through January 15.

More than 940,000 Colorado residents are enrolled in Medicare, covering people age 65 and older and people living with disabilities - but Medicare doesn't cover everything, including prescription drugs.

So, Randall said Medicare "Part D plans" are needed for those who don't have employer-based coverage for medications.

"So, you need to pick a separate prescription drug, 'Part D' program," said Randall. "It generally doesn't cover supplemental benefits and things like vision, dental and hearing, in most circumstances."

For vision, hearing and dental care needs, people can purchase supplemental coverage or what's known as a Medicare Advantage plan. These also have open enrollment periods.

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