Colorado could keep its insurance marketplace even if Obamcare dies

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Ambulances at Denver Health on Bannock in Lincoln Park. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  denver health; hospital; healthcare; denver; denverite; kevinjbeaty; colorado;

Ambulances at Denver Health on Bannock in Lincoln Park. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Leaders in Colorado’s government and health care industry are thinking about whether Connect for Health, the state’s online insurance marketplace, could still be useful if Obamacare is repealed.

“Should federal policy change, we’ll be ready to change. But we’ll be staying true to our commitment to accessibility, affordability and choice,” said Kevin Patterson, CEO of Connect for Health, in an interview with Vox.

Now, what does that mean?

Colorado created Connect for Health in response to the Affordable Care Act. It is a central online service where consumers can compare prices and benefits from various health insurance plans.

“It provides a place to do side-by-side comparison shopping of insurance products. That didn’t exist before Connect For Health and the ACA was created,” as Joe Hanel, an analyst with the Colorado Health Institute, told me in an interview.

So, keeping the marketplace could be a benefit for some consumers. But changes to Obamacare also could affect the prices of those plans, especially if the Trump administration takes away some of the money that lowers prices.

That could happen even before any changes to the laws. In her Vox piece, Sarah Kliff asked Patterson whether uncertainty about the future could affect prices in the near term.

“When an actuary doesn’t understand, or they don’t know something, it costs you more,” the marketplace CEO responded. “I’m really concerned that rates that will be filed on the individual market and next year will be really, really high because there are so many questions.”

However, you don’t need to worry about prices for your 2017 plan. Those have already been locked in. Check out our earlier guide for further information on Obamacare in Colorado.

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