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Larimer Health Connect

Today’s Lesson: Health insurance coverage CAN be affordable

Health Coverage Specialist Roy Ramirez works with Lauren Rogers to find affordable health insurance.Lauren Rogers was completing an associate’s degree when she turned 26 last year and was no longer eligible for her father’s employer-based health insurance coverage. Unsure of how to find health insurance on her own, she called Larimer Health Connect.

“I was in a unique situation because I had just gone from being a poor college student to a full-time nanny,” Rogers says. “When your life is changing, it’s kind of hard to know what to do. Health insurance, how to get it, how much to get—it isn’t information you learn about in school.”

Certified Health Coverage Guide Roy Ramirez was happy to do the research and provide Rogers with notes on her options. For part of 2018, Rogers was on Medicaid (a federal-state insurance program for people with limited income) before getting dropped for making too much money at her new nanny job. The loss of coverage allowed her to purchase new coverage on the state health insurance exchange outside of the open enrollment period. Other life changes like marriage, divorce, or having a baby also qualify for special enrollment periods.

Ramirez helped Rogers enroll in a silver plan through Connect for Health Colorado that was well within her budget. She reapplied for the same plan during the open enrollment period for 2019. After tax credits, Rogers pays a $60 monthly premium and has low co-pays for her monthly prescription medications. Her deductible is just $100 thanks to cost-sharing reductions.

“When it’s your first experience choosing health insurance it can be overwhelming—that’s why we’re here,” Ramirez says. “Our Health Coverage Guides provide an objective overview of all options so clients get the information they need to make an informed decision. Many people feel better speaking with someone face-to-face versus a phone call or online.”

In 2018, Larimer Health Connect served 2,270 clients, answering questions over the phone or in person, and assisting Larimer County residents in reviewing all of their health insurance options—including eligibility for Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) and enrollment assistance. The program also provides prescription assistance to district residents who qualify.

Ramirez is always glad to see repeat clients. “Plans change from year to year. Rules change sometimes as well. And of course, if you experience a life change, meet with a health coverage guide to learn your options.”

Class dismissed.