GettingUsCovered, the new high risk pool health insurance in Colorado created by the PPACA, has enrolled 430 people so far, and organizers hope that the program will be able to accept up to 4,100 members. But of the 700,000 people in Colorado who are uninsured, about 30,000 would qualify for GettingUsCovered. The plan has been enrolling members since the beginning of September, but it’s possible that there are people who are waiting until they have been uninsured for six months in order to qualify before applying. And of course cost is an issue for a lot of people.
Suzanne Bragg-Gamble, the executive director of CoverColorado (which runs GettingUsCovered in partnership with Rocky Mountain Health Plans), notes that especially in the early days of the program, a lot of potential applicants thought that the policy would be free or very low cost. Although the plan covers people with pre-existing conditions, they still have to be able to pay for coverage at a price that is roughly the same as private health insurance.
Even when policies are free or very low cost (such as Medicaid or Child Health Plan Plus), a significant number of eligible individuals continue to go without coverage, for a myriad of reasons. So it stands to reason that plenty of uninsured people who are eligible for GettingUsCovered won’t apply. Some likely aren’t aware of the availability, and many others simply can’t afford to pay the premiums. But apparently Colorado is enrolling people at a fairly fast pace – as of November 1, there were 20 states that had fewer than 50 people enrolled in their newly-created high risk pools.