Colorado releases new health insurance plans

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) --- On January 1, 2014, all American residents will be required to have health insurance and Connect for Health Colorado is providing a wide variety of coverage options.

"It's going to be the shopping experience that's never been available before," said Michelle Walker, director of sales administration and product development at Rocky Mountain Health Plans. "They can look at a Rocky Mountain Health Plan and compare it to other carriers and see side by side what are the benefit differences, what are the price differences"

Private insurance companies will be providing the plans through Connect for Health Colorado.

There are four tiers of coverage plans. Prices then depend on region and age.

"For a gold plan, a co-pay may be $30," Walker said. "While on a bronze plan, a co-pay for a doctor visit may be $40 or $45."

People who purchase plans through the Connect for Health Colorado marketplace will be eligible for tax credits, which can defray the cost of monthly premiums.

"Based on their income and based on their family mix or how big their family is, they could receive premium assistance that will bring their premium down to less than $50 a month," Walker said. "In some cases it could even be free."

Also, the Affordable Health Care Act no longer allows insurance companies to pick and choose exactly who they want to cover based on preexisting health problems.

"We’ve lived in an environment where people have not been able to access coverage because of a health condition," Walker said. "That goes away."

Those who do not buy health insurance will have to fork up $95 or one percent of their household income at the end of 2014.

The Connect for Health Colorado plans go on sale October 1 and will go into effect January 1.

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