Open Enrollment is Around the Corner

November 13, 2014

On November 15, open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace will begin.  The Health Insurance Marketplace or Connect for Health Colorado offers expanded access to low-cost healthcare coverage for people without health insurance, or for those who are interested in exploring more cost-effective alternatives to their current coverage.  Last year alone, 7.3 million people obtained health coverage through the Marketplace.

Officials at Colorado Plains Medical Center have developed a team and resources to help patients learn about the Marketpalce and enroll in affordable healthcare coverage.  Beginning November 15, Certified Application Counselors (CACs) will be available onsite and through the hospital's toll-free number - 1-888-982-9144 - to help people navigate the application process, re-enroll, or make changes to their Marketplace coverage, and understand the options that best match their healthcare needs.  CPMC also has plans for several outreach efforts and will be manning an information booth at various locations throughout Fort Morgan in the coming months.  A detailed schedule will be posted on its website, www.coloradoplainsmedicalcenter.com, once finalized.

"One of the foundations of good health is preventive care, and that is a key benefit that health insurance coverage provides.  Without healthcare coverage, people often only seek out medical care when there is an emergency, or their condition becomes unmanageable on their own," remarks Gene O'Hara, Interim CEO at Colorado Plains Medical Center. "The Health Insurance Marketplace has improved access to insurance plans that cover preventive care, which benefits individuals and our community by raising the overall level of health and quality of life in our area."

While there are several types of plans and levels of coverage available, there is a core set of essential health beneifts that must be covered by every plan on the Marketplace.  These include:
*  Ambulatory patient services (outpatient care one gets without being admitted to a hospital)
*  Emergency services
*  Hospitalization
*  Maternity and newborn care (before and after a baby is born)
*  Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment such as counseling and psychotherapy
*  Prescription drugs
*  Rehabilitative services and devices that help people with injuries, disabilities, or chronic conditions gain or recover mental and physical skills
*  Pediatric services
*  Laboratory services
*  Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management

Open enrollment for 2015 coverage is November 15, 2014 - February 15, 2015.  Individuals who currently don't have health insurance or those wishing to make changes in coverage who are currently insured through a Marketplace plan, must do so during this time.

Colorado Plains Medical Center recommends the following steps to take in order to get ready for the enrollment period:
*  Learn about different types of health insurance.  A variety of plans will be available in the Marketplace.
*  Make a list of questions before it's time to choose your health plan, such as "Can I stay with my current doctor?" and "Can I use my local hospital?"
*  Make sure you understand how insurance works, including deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums, copayments, etc.
*  Gather basic information about your household income.  You may qualify for a discount on the cost of your health insurance.
*  Set your budget.  Different health plans will be offered to meet a variety of budgets.
*  Ask your employer if they plan to offer health insurance next year.  Some employers have chosen to discontinue offering health benefits and direct employees to the Marketplace.  Others may offer coverage for the first time in 2015.
*  Explore current options.  Visit www.HealthCare.gov for information about health insurance for young adults up to age 26, children in families with limited income (CHIP), and Medicare for people who are over age 65 or have disabilities.  Also, based, on your income and circumstances, you may be eligible for coverage under Colorado's Medicaid program.

For more information, contact Martina Donez Gardino at Colorado Plains Medical Center at 970-542-4363 or our toll-free enrollment line at 1-888-982-9144.  Indiividuals can also visit our home page of our website to learn more.