Coloradans still have the opportunity to enroll in health insurance coverage for 2014 through Medicaid and CHP+, if eligible, as well as through the Connect for Health Colorado Marketplace. Local in-person enrollment assistance is available from Larimer Health Connect and other providers.

There are no deadlines to apply for Medicaid and CHP+. Individuals and families who are eligible can apply anytime. The deadline to purchase private health insurance for 2014 through the Connect for Health Colorado Marketplace is March 31.

Connect for Health Colorado is a new way for Coloradans to buy health insurance and access new financial assistance, based on income, to reduce costs. Open enrollment continues until March 31, 2014. To have coverage by Feb. 1, a person would have to be enrolled in a plan by Jan. 15.

Larimer Health Connect is a local effort to help county residents understand and prepare for the changes in health insurance coming in 2014. Larimer Health Connect offers free, in-person help from certified Health Coverage Guides at five assistance sites in Larimer County. Guides can assist people with shopping for and enrolling in health plans offered through the Connect for Health Colorado Marketplace, and also can help people apply for any financial help. In addition, staff at four of the five sites will be able to determine eligibility for Medicaid and CHP+ and help people apply for those programs if they qualify.

To make an appointment, call 970-472-0444 or visit www.LarimerHealthConnect.org.

Important information for people who have bought, or are considering buying, health insurance through the Connect for Health Colorado Marketplace:

• Customers who have signed up for health insurance are receiving invoices from their carriers. Enrollment data is being transferred daily to carriers, so people can check with their carrier to confirm their enrollment. It can take up to 2 business days for a person’s enrollment information to appear in the carrier’s computer systems after they sign up. It can take up to 10 days for the carrier to send the invoice. Requested changes (e.g., address or plan changes) may add to processing time.

• Customers need to pay their first month’s premium to carriers to finalize their coverage. The deadline for customers to submit their first month’s premium payment (for January coverage) is Jan. 10, 2014. Larimer Health Connect is encouraging customers to send in their payments as early as possible. Customers who access medical care after Jan.1 but have not paid their premium yet may need to pay for the services and then submit a claim after their payment is received.

• Customers who signed up between Dec. 24 and Dec. 27 will see a Feb. 1, 2014 effective date for their plans in their account. The account information is being corrected to show the Jan. 1, 2014 effective date for plans, and the correct effective date is being sent to carriers.

• Most carriers will send an ID card after you have completed your first premium payment. This could take a couple of weeks. Some carriers may provide a temporary ID card. A person’s coverage is dependent on their premium payment status, not whether or not they have an ID card.

• Individuals who are enrolled in 2014 health coverage (private or public) by March 31 will avoid a penalty fee. The individual shared responsibility requirement, also known as the individual mandate, is the federal requirement for Americans to have health insurance beginning in 2014. If people can afford health insurance but choose not to buy it (and are not exempted from purchasing insurance for other reasons), they must pay a fee known as the individual shared responsibility payment. The fee in 2014 is 1% of your yearly income or $95 per person for the year, whichever is higher. The payment for uninsured children is $47.50 per child. The fee increases every year.

• Coloradans can also purchase health insurance without applying for financial assistance and receive the tax credit, if eligible, when they file taxes in 2015.

• The next deadline for coverage is Jan. 15. Coloradans who sign up by Jan. 15 will get coverage on Feb. 1. Open enrollment continues until March 31.

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