Building On What Works: Colorado Sees ‘Uptick In Enrollments’ With Expanded Federal Health Coverage Subsidies

May 10, 2021

DENVER – In the latest evidence that our current health care system is working to expand access to affordable, high-quality health coverage and care, “17,282 Coloradans have signed up for a health insurance plan since Connect for Health Colorado re-opened enrollment on Feb. 8, with more than 7,500 sign ups in the last month alone. That uptick in enrollments coincides with the date that Connect for Health Colorado began offering increased savings on health insurance to residents of all income ranges following the passage of the American Rescue Plan,” Connect for Health Colorado – Colorado’s state health insurance exchange – announced last week. 

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provides new federal subsidies available to Coloradans by broadening the eligibility requirements and expands affordability by increasing the premium subsidy amounts that go to individuals enrolled in individual market coverage.

As a result of ARPA health care provisions – including an expansion of Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies, new COBRA subsidies, and additional Medicaid coverage – the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI) estimates

  • One out of five (21 percent) customers could potentially have a $0 premium if they were to stay with their current plan.
  • Two out of three (64 percent) customers could potentially have a $0 premium if they were to enroll in the lowest cost plan available to them.
  • Three out of four people could potentially have a $25 premium or less if they were to enroll in the lowest cost plan available to them.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also released new federal data that heralds a substantial increase in the number of Americans gaining health coverage through the federal exchange, with enrollment rising even more rapidly as enhanced subsidies became available. 

As Congress and the Administration weigh the possibility of making the new expanded federal subsidies permanent, a recent analysis by the Brookings Institution also considers this possibility by suggesting, “states must account for a number of policymaking considerations in light of the PTC [Premium Tax Credit] expansion and uncertainty about future federal action,” and concludes state lawmakers should take “caution against making lasting changes until matters are clearer.”

It’s clear that the impact of the new federal resources available to lower insurance premiums is being overlooked by lawmakers pushing House Bill 21-1232, which would create a new state government-controlled health insurance system. The evidence continues to show that the time has never been better to improve and build on what is working today, not put this progress at risk with the state government option.