DENVER - On Oct. 1, shopping officially begins for a product that just may be one of the most complex to choose and buy: Health insurance.
Connect for Health Colorado is a resource to help those interested in buying an insurance policy. It's a marketplace where people can shop for health insurance online.
Lindy Hinman is the chief operating officer.
"You can shop by price or the quality of the policy," Hinman said. "You can also shop based on a physician and hospital."
On the site you can compare prices and policies.
"We recognize buying healthcare is not an easy process. It is complicated. Our goal is to provide support in the process," she said
The website promises anyone who is uninsured, or just looking for better coverage, a place to see options. Most people who have coverage with their employer will continue with no changes. The marketplace primarily will be for people and small business who are new to insurance because they have chosen not to have it or have not been able to afford it.
The Latest Colorado Health Access Survey shows about 830,000 are uninsured in our state. Of that group, roughly 300,000 are considered lower income and could qualify for a tax credit to help pay for their premium or for Medicaid.
Lorez Meinhold is the executive director of the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. She says it is a significant time for our state. According to Meinhold, more people will qualify for Medicaid than in years past.
"Folks with insurance tend to have better health outcomes," Meinhold said. "They are better able to access preventative service that help keep them healthy."
While anyone who is qualified for Medicaid or for a subsidy can already window shop online, they cannot buy their policy there yet.
Connect for Health Colorado says it needs an extra month to better sync the website with the federal system so no one is inadvertently passed.
"We recognize, in these early days, we want to ensure accuracy and a good customer service experience," Hinman said.
For now, people who qualify for financial help can go to one of 56 walk-in centers or contact the call center at 1-855-PLANS-4-YOU or 1-855-752-6749.
Here are some affordable care resources for Colorado:
Colorado Affordable Health Care website
You will find general information and specific insurance plans on this site.
Colorado Division of Insurance
It offers information and take complaints about insurance companies, 303-894-7490 or 1-800-930-3745
Medicaid eligibility has expanded for 2014.
See if you qualify
Customer Service: 1-800-221-3943
Collaboration between Dept. of Health Care Policy & Financing, the Colorado Division of Insurance and the Connect for Health Colorado marketplace.
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