Back in October, six months probably seemed like plenty of time to have open enrollment for health insurance in 2014. And for all the procrastinators out there – you know who you are! – there was always tomorrow. But we’re now down to just one week remaining in open enrollment. The good news is that brokers, navigators, Connect for Health Colorado staff and all of Colorado’s health insurance carriers have spent the last 5.75 months working out the kinks and learning all the ins and outs of our new health insurance system. If you were scared off by the early stories of how hard it was to enroll, rest assured that it’s much easier now.
Update: Connect for Health Colorado Has Extended the Deadline for Open Enrollment for Health Insurance in 2014 – We can help you submit your application by Tuesday, April 15.
But don’t wait until March 31 to start your application. That’s like heading out for a drive along I-25 somewhere between 120th and Evans at 5:30pm on a Tuesday… when all you’re doing is running errands that you could do just as well at 11am.
Volume is likely to increase all week, so the sooner you get started, the better, in terms of the experience you’ll have. Customer service reps will be easier to reach, hold times will be shorter, and you’ll soon have the peace of mind of knowing that you’re finished and your new policy will be effective on May 1.
But just in case things don’t go as planned, Connect for Health Colorado is cutting people a little slack on open enrollment for health insurance in 2014 – especially in cases where there are technological glitches or delays in processing subsidy eligibility.
- As long as you complete your financial assistance application to determine subsidy eligibility by 3/31, the exchange will work with you to get you through the rest of the enrollment process.
- You can complete your subsidy eligibility application online, in person or on paper, but be aware that paper applications have be received by Connect for Health Colorado by 3/31.
- If a technological problem prevents you from completing your application, contact Connect for Health Colorado as soon as possible so that they can look into what happened. They will deal with these situations on a case by case basis, with a goal of completing enrollment for as many people as possible.
- If you submit your financial assistance application by 3/31 but don’t receive your subsidy eligibility determination until after the end of open enrollment, you’ll have until May 31 to complete your enrollment and select a plan.
- Effective dates will work the same as usual: if you enroll by the 15th of the month, your policy will be effective the first of the next month. If you enroll after the 15th of the month, your effective date will be the first of the second following month. So for example, if you submit your financial assistance application on March 28 but don’t receive your Medicaid denial until April 4, don’t panic. You’ll have until May 31 to complete your enrollment. If you complete your enrollment on April 7th, your policy will be effective May 1. But if you complete your enrollment on April 23, your policy will be effective June 1.
As always, there’s no charge for our services. We’re happy to help you enroll in a new policy and answer any questions you have. Just make sure that if health insurance is on your to-do list, you get it done (or at least the financial assistance application portion of it) by
March 31! April 15th (contact). If you don’t apply during open enrollment for health insurance in 2014, your options will be extremely limited for the rest of this year, unless you have a qualifying event (open enrollment applies to off-exchange policies too… those won’t be available after 3/31 either).