Gov. John Hickenlooper gave the Colorado health benefits exchange – known as Connect for Health Colorado – its much-needed funding source when he signed House Bill 1245 earlier this month.
The bill takes the current 1.8 percent assessment on health insurance policies sold in the state and moves it from Cover Colorado to the exchange. Cover Colorado is the state’s high-risk insurance plan.
Cover Colorado is ending its program because the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act rendered it unnecessary. The ACA bans insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
The move by Hickenlooper gives the exchange $23.5 million in the next two years and allows the board to collect as much as $5 million a year in tax-deductible contributions from insurers.
Connect for Health Colorado is the state’s version of the health benefits exchange, mandated in the Affordable Care Act. Set to start Oct.1, the exchanges allowindividuals and small businesses to shop for insurance. It’s the only place federal subsidies can be applied to insurance premiums.