Colorado Health Insurance Exchange to open in October
WESTERN SAN JUANS – With the upcoming fall implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obama Care, the Tri-County Health Network has been awarded a grant from Connect for Health Colorado to help Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel County residents select and enroll in health insurance plans.
Through the grant, TCHN will become part of the Connect for Health Assistance Network and serve local communities by helping individuals, families and small businesses consider health plan options, apply for insurance affordability programs, and sign up for health coverage.
“Because of its rural nature, our region qualifies as a ‘Medically Underserved Community’ and ‘Health Professional Shortage Area,’” said Lynn Borup, executive director of the Tri-County Health Network. “We have a large, often unhealthy, uninsured population; and it’s critical that we help them enroll in insurance programs. The larger the pool of insured, the lower the rates will be for everyone.”
The Affordable Care Act requires that all Americans be enrolled in some type of program by Jan. 31, 2014. Individuals can either decide to keep their current insurance plans or purchase an insurance plan through an online marketplace otherwise known as a “health insurance exchange pool.”
Starting in October, Colorado’s Connect for Health Colorado will offer individuals, families and small employers a new online marketplace for health insurance and, to reduce costs, exclusive access to up-front financial assistance based on income. Customers will shop through a website and receive help – both in-person and over-the-phone – from a network of customer service professionals, including TCHN representatives. The marketplace is a public, nonprofit entity that was established by a 2011 state law. More information on Connect for Health Colorado is available at ConnectforHealthCO.com.
As a member of the new Connect for Health Assistance Network, TCHN is charged with providing local, in-person assistance to anyone – individuals, families and small businesses – shopping for healthcare coverage through Colorado’s new health insurance marketplace. To lower participant costs, TCHN will work with regional residents to apply for new tax credits and find other insurance affordability programs. For more information call 970/708-7096. To learn more about TCHN programs see www.TCHNetwork.org.
“The implementation of Obama Care will fundamentally expand services and usage across our region,” said Davis Fansler, member of the Telluride Health and Wellness Community Council. “It’s important that everyone be aware of the coming changes and be prepared for the implications. The Health and Wellness Community Council has been actively examining the way this shift in policy will change the reality of healthcare in our region, and we’re excited about the opportunities for previously uninsured individuals from all walks of life to enroll in healthcare plans.”
TCHN is comprised of a group of healthcare providers in southwestern Colorado within Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel counties and includes: Montrose Memorial Hospital; the Basin Clinic; Uncompahgre Medical Center; Telluride Medical Center; Midwestern Colorado Mental Health Center; and the Local Health Initiative, a program of the Telluride Foundation.
The Telluride Health and Wellness Center Initiative has been created to examine how the shift in policies and the healthcare delivery system could change practices for the region, and the Telluride Medical Center in particular, and if a new medical facility could open new opportunities for expanded services and relationships for Telluride.
For more information on TCHN, the Community Council and the Telluride Health and Wellness Center Initiative, or to join the conversation about what Telluride needs in order to address these upcoming healthcare changes, go to telluridehealthideas.org, or to join the list serve at bigtent.com/groups/tellwell, “like” our Facebook page “Telluride Health & Wellness,” follow us on twitter @TRIDEWELL, or contact the Telluride Foundation at 970/728-8717 or firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the e-mail distribution list.