Thousands sign up for private health coverage in Colorado but numbers below projections

· Feb. 19, 2015, 10:03 pm
Photo: Signing up for health insurance(Photo: CPR/John Daley)
Carmen Perez, a mother from Commerce City, and her children visit the downtown Denver walk-in center for Connect for Health Colorado, the state's health coverage marketplace.

When you drill into the numbers, fewer people actually enrolled for private health insurance than what Connect for Health had projected. According to targets adopted by the exchange's finance committee last fall, the low signup projection for this year was nearly 169,000 active enrollments.  The high projection was almost 243,000.  But in reality only 139,652 people signed up during this most recent enrollment. 

Most people who signed up for insurance in 2015 -- roughly 68 percent -- were re-enrolling, according to Connect for Health spokesman Luke Clarke. 
Here's how the enrollments break down in detail:

During the three-month open enrollment period, 139,652 people enrolled in private coverage through Connect for Health Colorado; another 76,194 in Medicaid and 3,720 in CHP+ [Child Health Plan Plus]. Connect for Health Colorado also enrolled 24,884 individuals in dental plans. Among Connect for Health Colorado customers, 54 percent qualified for financial assistance.

The 2015 open enrollment period is the second since the federal Affordable Care Act was implemented. More than 250,000 Coloradans signed up through the exchange or Medicaid last year.
“Year two is a success. We've identified new challenges," said Connect for Heath spokesman Clarke. "But it's a success.”
One of those challenges included persistent glitches that affected as many as 3,600 customers looking to enroll through the exchange website.
Some policyholders who were eligible for automatic insurance renewals may have accidentally discontinued their existing coverage by shopping for other policies on the site.
Last month, the exchange's board approved more than $300,000 to fix website snags and help resolve delayed applications.

Clarke says the exchange will help anyone who has started the process and still needs assistance enrolling.

“We continue to work with them to complete their enrollment," said Clarke. "We’ve made that promise and we’ll stick with them until they get the coverage they want for 2015.” 

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