Catastrophic coverage to have minimal effect, insurance broker says
The practical effects in Colorado of President Barack Obama’s decision to lift the individual mandate to obtain health insurance by Jan. 1 weren’t immediately clear.
One Grand Junction broker said the effects will be minimal.
“There’s no earth-shattering event here,” said Randy Pifer of Active Insurance Solutions, 940 Colorado Ave.
Still, officials with the Colorado Division of Insurance didn’t respond immediately to inquiries and the state’s online marketplace, ConnectforHealthColorado.com, said it was exploring the implications of the president’s recent announcement.
“We are working with insurance carriers and our state partners to review the new information and determine how this may impact Coloradans and their options for accessing health insurance,” said marketplace spokesman Ben Davis.
“We will provide more information as soon as possible. For now, we remain focused on helping Coloradans sign up for health insurance for coverage that starts January 1.”
Colorado is one of 14 states that established its own insurance marketplace in response to the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010.
Under Obama’s announcement, any consumers who lost coverage because their plans didn’t qualify or no longer qualified under standards set in the law would be eligible to purchase catastrophic coverage that the law said would be unavailable to anyone older than 30.
Consumers are required to have health insurance or pay a penalty in their taxes.
Consumers who were notified that their policies were canceled will be eligible for hardship exemptions and be able to enroll in catastrophic coverage, according to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a federal agency.
The announcement came days before the Monday deadline for consumers to sign up and pay for coverage that would be effective Jan. 1, the day the mandate goes into effect.
ConnectforHealthColorado.com on Friday still listed the Monday deadline to purchase health insurance.