Location: LSB B
Update on Open Enrollment
COMMITTEE ON COLORADO HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE
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09:07 AM -- Update on Open Enrollment
Kevin Patterson, Chief Executive Officer, Connect for Health Colorado (exchange), distributed a handout to the committee (Attachment B) and discussed the current open enrollment period. He discussed the current number of consumers who have already enrolled in 2018 health plans and the January 12, 2018, deadline for enrollment. He discussed the uninsured rate in Colorado, which is currently at 6.5 percent uninsured. Mr. Patterson spoke about the exchange's strategic plan and the collaborative process that was involved in developing that plan. He pointed out the four goals of the strategic plan: advocate to improve access to coverage in rural areas; maximize the number of consumers and employers who shop and enroll through the health insurance marketplace and apply for available financial assistance; improve the ability of customers to attain and retain the right coverage for their needs; and ensure that the exchange is a healthy and thriving organization.
Mr. Patterson pointed out that the exchange reduced its operating expenses from approximately $60 million in previous years to under $40 million for 2018. He told the committee that only one insurance carrier is offering plans through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) this year. He stated that small businesses are not likely to purchase coverage through the exchange. He discussed the outreach efforts the exchange has taken to help consumers understand how insurance works, the differences in coverage between plans, and the financial assistance available through the exchange. He also said that many consumers underestimate the threshold for receiving financial assistance and do not realize that they may qualify.
Mr. Patterson discussed the possibility of families currently enrolled in the Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) program needing to find other coverage if the program is not funded in 2018 by Congress.
Mr. Patterson responded to questions from the committee about the number of consumers who sign up for coverage but who do not pay the premiums, technical problems with the exchange website, and areas of the state with higher than expected enrollment rates.
Committee discussion and questions continued. Mr. Patterson dialogued with the committee about CHP+ and the role of health districts in coordinating enrollment in health insurance plans through the exchange. Committee members further discussed CHP+ and alternatives to funding this program.
Committee members discussed reimbursements for brokers who help consumers enroll in health plans through the exchange and the findings of the Division of Insurance's (DOI) Colorado High-Risk Health Coverage Study.
Committee members discussed the fees paid by insurance carriers to the exchange and the possible elimination of the individual mandate through the federal tax bill. Mr. Patterson responded to questions about how the elimination of the individual mandate would affect the exchange by explaining that he expects that individuals and families purchasing insurance through the exchange will continue to do so because of the financial incentives they receive.
Brian Braun, Deputy-Director and Chief Financial Officer, Connect for Health Colorado, told the committee that the exchange has built flexibility into its contracts to allow for adjustments if enrollment drops. The committee discussed the health literacy tools on the exchange website.