With open enrollment nearing, Colorado health officials promise improvements

Photo: Connect for Health Colorado (AP Photo)With the enrollment period for Colorado residents to sign up for private health insurance coverage just a month away, state officials are promising a smoother experience than last year.

That's when some people faced delays to see if they qualified for government insurance or instead should purchase it on the state's health exchange, Connect for Health Colorado.

CEO Gary Drews says the exchange will offer 170 medical plans and up to 20 dental plans.

“The choices are many, but we’ve also created a number of search tools to help people whittle that down to the few that might be most appropriate for their situation,” says Drews.

The state's Medicaid program and the exchange will share a new computer system, aimed at streamlining the enrollment process.

"I believe Colorado has built the nation's finest enrollment system," says Sue Birch, Executive Director of the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, which administers Medicaid in Colorado. "I think people will be very pleased with the access and the use and how state of the art and consumer friendly it is."

The new system won't be up and running until Nov. 9. Open enrollment starts Nov. 15.