Senate Bill 11-200 – the act that created the Colorado health benefits exchange – is also creating jobs in Colorado Springs.
The state exchange will open a new customer service center in Colorado Springs, creating about 100 new jobs.
Connect for Health Colorado has signed a lease for a 25,000-square-foot building that will open this summer in preparation for providing phone assistance to customers using the exchange. Policies will be available for purchase on the Internet or over the phone starting Oct. 1, they’ll go into effect Jan. 1, 2014.
“The new customer service center will be a significant part of our network of support for individuals, families and small businesses in Colorado,” said Patty Fontneau, CEO of Connect for Health Colorado in a press release announcing the new service center. “We are excited to support the Colorado Springs economy and to partner with Colorado Springs businesses and organizations to reach our mission of increasing access, affordability and choice for individuals and small employers looking for health insurance in Colorado.”
Connect for Health Colorado receives federal grant money under the Affordable Care Act, but more business groups support the exchanges than support the ACA and the state exchange is set up to operate indepedently of federal law. Small business owners and individuals can purchase policies through the exchange. If they are eligible for federal premium subsidies, they can also apply those during the exchange.
The website, connectforhealthco.com, will provide help in person and over the phone from a network for customer service professionals, including customer service center representatives and licensed insurance brokers.
In addition to the phone support provided by the Colorado Springs site, several area organizations will provide in-person assistance to customers as part of a new program called the Connect for Health Colorado Assistance Network.
Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments and Peak Vista Community Health Centers in Colorado Springs, Tri-Lakes Cares in Monument and the Healthy Communities initiative at Memorial Hospital will serve as assistance sites for individuals, families and small employers in the region.
The Customer Service Center site was chosen after a statewide evaluation of 31 sites, including 21 site visits across the state. The evaluation considered cost, age and condition of the buildings, access to mass transit, a strong labor pool and services, opportunity for expansion and safety, organizers said.