In response to the Affordable Care Act in 2010, Colorado passed three laws to help expand health insurance access to more residents and provide a frame work for more Coloradans to be able to purchase health insurance:
Senate Bill 13-200: signed in to law in 2013, it expanded Health First Colorado coverage for low-income Coloradans to up to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) (some earning more may still qualify) beginning on January 1, 2014.
Senate Bill 11-200: signed in to law in 2011, it created Colorado’s state-based insurance marketplace, Connect for Health Colorado. The Connect for Health Colorado marketplace allows individuals who do not qualify for Health First Colorado (Colorado's Medicaid Program) or Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) to receive federal financial assistance, such as Tax Credits and Cost-Sharing Reductions, to lower the cost of private health insurance coverage.
House Bill 13-1266: signed in to law in 2013, the law aligns Colorado health insurance laws with federal law, providing consumers, insurance carriers, agents, and other stakeholders with one set of health insurance rules. It also created the regulatory environment to support Connect for Health Colorado in becoming a Colorado’s state-based marketplace for health insurance. For more information visit the Department of Regulatory Agencies, Division of Insurance.
Senate Bill 97-054: brought Colorado statutes into compliance with the provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, where Colorado laws did not already meet or exceed the minimum requirements. The act served “to make Colorado law consistent with federal law in order to retain state jurisdiction over health insurance plans, avoid dual state and federal regulation, reduce public confusion about health insurance rights and responsibilities, and preserve Colorado health insurance requirements that exceed federal law.”
CHIP is administered in Colorado by the Department of Health Care Policy & Financing as the Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+). It is intended to cover people who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford private health insurance. As of November 2017, there were over 75,000 Colorado kids and pregnant mothers enrolled in the program. For more information and for how to apply to the program, see here.
Funding for CHIP lapsed in September and on October 2, 2017, the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing released the “Future of Children’s Health Insurance Program in Colorado,” warning that children and pregnant woman who receive healthcare through CHP+ should start exploring alternative options for healthcare as funding will last until January 31, 2018. See CPR News for a discussion of the state CHIP funding. For more information on CHP+ will be changing, see here. This site also provides a Future of CHP+ Newsletter that allows users to sign up for updates.
On January 25, 2018, The Department issued the statement here that Congress has renewed federal funding for CHIP for an additional six years. Further instructions and clarifications are presented in the statement.
Benefits.gov provides more information on government benefits that people may be eligible to receive. The site has a Colorado Child Health Plan Plus specific guide that explains the program and its requirements.
InsureKidsNow.gov provides more information on Colorado programs that provide no-cost or low-cost health coverage for eligible children.
All Kids Covered strives for “sound policy to reduce the number of uninsured children in Colorado.” The non-partisan coalition provides options for children’s health insurance both public and private, health research, and publication and presentations.