As the cold weather blows into Colorado, so do thoughts of winter sports, holidays and, of course, the ACA (Affordable Care Act) open enrollment for 2020. 

Yes, it’s that time of year again. The Colorado ACA open enrollment for 2020 starts soon. The sooner you enroll, the sooner you can concentrate on winter fun and the holidays! Here are the key dates you need to know, as well as the frequently asked questions we hear for Colorado.

Dates of Colorado ACA Open Enrollment 2020

The national ACA open enrollment dates for 2020 are November 1, 2019-December 15, 2020. However, Colorado (along with California) is one of two states that have a permanent open enrollment period. Colorado’s extension pushes enrollment to January 15, 2020.

If you don’t have Colorado group health insurance via your employer or through Medicare or Medicaid, you will need to purchase your own individual health insurance. 

What are healthcare subsidies?

Healthcare subsidies are forms of financial assistance offered by the US federal government. Subsidies are in place to help people with the high cost of individual healthcare plans on the ACA marketplace.

The two subsidies provided through the ACA are the Advanced Premium Tax Credit and Cost-Sharing Reduction.  

The Advanced Premium Tax Credit (APTC) is a tax credit taken in advance of the tax year to lower an individual health premium. Cost-Sharing Reduction or CSR reduces deductibles and copayments and is based on yearly income, and not taxes. The CSR subsidy is available through health insurance providers’ ACA silver plans.   As the 2020 ACA open enrollment for Colorado approaches, find out if you qualify for either of these subsidies.

How can I qualify for healthcare subsidies?

Colorado’s ACA 2020 open enrollment lasts through the end of January 2020, but you should understand subsidies pre-enrollment.  These subsidies are in place to help you find an affordable individual health insurance plan.    

The APTC is based on yearly salary and designed as assistance for individuals or families with low income.  The lower your income, the larger the tax credit to help cover your health insurance costs. According to the IRS, “your household income must be at least 100%–but no more than 400% of the federal poverty line for your family size.”

You may choose to have advanced APTC payments made to your health insurance provider. If you can pay your monthly premium and do not need further healthcare costs savings before the end of 2020, you can elect to receive the healthcare subsidy with your yearly tax return.

During Colorado’s ACA open enrollment in 2020, the CSR is a bit trickier to ascertain.  When the ACA first went into effect, the CSR was federally funded. As of 2017, the CSR is no longer a tax credit. However, most ACA insurers include the CSR in their silver plan premiums.

If you are in a profession with fluctuating income, a silver health plan with built-in CSR is helpful. You’ll pay a higher premium as your income rises but receive credit if your income declines.

How do I sign up for ACA in Colorado?

There are four ways to enroll for a health insurance plan under the ACA (Obamacare) for the coverage year 2020. 

Will I be penalized for no health insurance?

Initially, the ACA required minimum essential coverage for all citizens. Known as the “individual mandate,” this requirement compelled all Americans to carry health insurance. Until 2018, a lack of health insurance could incur financial penalties come tax season.

In 2017, Congress repealed the shared responsibility penalty through the Tax Reconciliation Act. As of 2019, individuals sans health insurance no longer face monetary fines on a federal level.  Although some states still carry health insurance penalties, Colorado does not.  

I missed the Colorado open enrollment!

What happens if you miss the ACA Colorado open enrollment 2020 period?  Unfortunately, if the ACA open enrollment for 2020 closes before you sign-up, you will not be able to sign-up again until open enrollment 2021. However, if you experience a life change such as getting married or having a baby, you can qualify for a Special Enrollment Period and sign-up then.

Summary

 The ACA open enrollment for 2020 begins Nov 1, 2019. In Colorado, the ACA open enrollment for 2020 extends past the federal open enrollment period. You have until January 15, 2020, to select the ACA health plan that works best for you. Consider taking advantage of the early November start date to have one less “to-do” item on your holiday list.     

Below is a link to further reading materials about the ACA open enrollment. 

A Guide to Open Enrollment

Looking for Group Health Insurance?

Are you a Colorado business owner that offers health insurance to your employees?  The end of the year is a great time to review your employer’s health insurance plan to see if you can save money or improve benefits. Below are a few of our most popular blog articles on the topic of small business health insurance plans.

The Best Time to Review Your Small Business Health Plan

Guide for Offering Health Insurance Benefits to Millennials

7 Must-Ask Questions Before Hiring a Group Health Insurance Agent in Colorado

What are the Common Features of Small Business Health Insurance Plans in Colorado?