Bipartisan legislation would facilitate enrolment in health plans

DENVER, CO– Representative Susan Lontine’s bipartisan bill to establish a program that would make it easier for health care consumers to find affordable health care coverage today was approved by the House Finance Committee by a vote of 8-2. This measure would help connect uninsured Coloradans to coverage options that they may have been unaware of or for which they may not have known they were eligible.

“Over 400,000 Coloradans are currently uninsured, and we believe many of them are already eligible for some type of financial assistance whether they know it or not,” said Rep. Lontine, D-Denver. “Determining eligibility through the tax filing process is a great way to connect uninsured Coloradans with the health care coverage that best fits their needs. I will continue to work to make this proposal a reality.”

HB20-1236 establishes a program that allows Colorado taxpayers to opt into allowing information about their uninsured household members to be evaluated for eligibility for certain affordable health insurance plans. Specifically, the program would allow individuals to indicate on the state income tax filings that they’d like the Colorado health benefit exchange (Connect for Health Colorado) to assess whether uninsured members of their household are eligible for free or subsidized health care coverage, such as the Advanced Premium Tax Credit or the state’s Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+). The bill would also create the affordable health care coverage easy enrollment advisory committee to guide implementation of the program and study the feasibility of automatic enrollment.

According to the Colorado Health Institute, more than half of Coloradans who don’t have health insurance qualify for public health insurance programs or subsidies such as premium tax credits or cost sharing reductions. One of the key reasons people may not enroll in coverage is that they don’t know how. This bill would allow Connect for Health Colorado to reach out to these individuals, if they checked the box on their tax return, and help them obtain free or subsidized coverage. The number of Coloradans eligible for subsidies but that haven’t enrolled in coverage has not fallen in recent years.

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