Open enrollment runs from November 1st through January 15th for ACA-qualified health insurance plans. These are plans sold on the Marketplace that may be eligible for subsidies, depending on your income. Below we discuss some of the best health insurance in Colorado for 2023.
Best Health Insurance in Colorado: 2023 Guide
In order to have coverage that’s effective the first of the year, you must enroll in a plan by December 15th.
Open enrollment is the only time during the year when everyone has a guaranteed right to enroll in an Obamacare-qualified plan without having to go through medical underwriting. If you miss open enrollment, you need to have a qualifying life event to get a special enrollment period, or wait until next year to enroll.
What Is The Best Health Insurance in Colorado?
As of 2023, there are seven health insurance carriers competing in the individual health insurance market in Colorado:
- Anthem BCBS
- Denver Health
- Friday Health Plans
- Rocky Mountain Health Plans
Bright Health is also currently in the market, but recently announced they will be exiting the individual insurance market in Colorado. If you’re one of the 55,000 Colorado residents currently enrolled in a Bright Health policy, you’ll need to line up some other coverage.
All of these insurance plans will cover at least the ten minimum essential coverages required under the Affordable Care Act. And all of these plans available on the Colorado exchange qualify for premium subsidies if your income is below a certain amount.
But beyond that, these plans can be very different. Benefits, exclusions, provider networks, prescription drug formularies, and pricing can be very different depending on your age, sex, location, and tobacco use status.
What are the Best Health Insurance Plans in Colorado?
Of the seven remaining carriers, here are some of the best options for most Colorado residents:
Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Colorado is the Colorado arm of one of the leading health insurance carriers in the country. They have a lot of resources and a long track record of success.
The disadvantage is that very large organizations can be tough to navigate if you have a problem.
All of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield’s ACA-qualified plans in Colorado are health maintenance organizations, or HMOs. These are generally lower-cost plans in terms of monthly premiums. But they also use narrow networks of care providers in order to keep costs down.
To get the best coverage, you must seek non-emergency care at one of their network providers.
Fortunately, Anthem has a very strong network throughout Colorado. So you shouldn’t have a hard time finding a provider near you in most specialties.
However, if you are very attached to a specific doctor or hospital, you should check to see if your preferred provider is in the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield network.
If you don’t mind the narrow care network and you want to keep your premiums as low as possible for a traditional health insurance plan, you might consider their Essentials Network. This is a lower-cost option that has a narrower network of providers who are willing to provide the biggest discounts on care to Anthem BCBS of Colorado members.
If you travel a lot, or have family members who plan to go away to college, Anthem’s access to the wide Blue Cross Blue Shield provider network may be very valuable.
Also, some Anthem BCBS HMOs offer dental coverage.
Cigna is one of the biggest and most widely-recognized names in health care, and maintains a strong presence in Colorado. In fact, they are growing their footprint, and recently expanded their service area to include Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Ft Collins, and Greely.
Cigna offers a wide variety of plan options at the Bronze, Silver, and Gold levels, with different deductible options for each.
Denver-area residents should note that the Cigna Connect network does not include UC Health. So if you want to use a UC Health provider, you may wish to consider other options.
Cigna’s plans come with $0 preventive care, $0 virtual care (telehealth), and 24/7/365 service and support.
Cigna has also developed a very good cell phone app that makes it easier to find a doctor, pay medical bills, manage and track deductibles, and more.
Friday Health plans are very competitive in some areas of Colorado. The disadvantage is that service areas are limited. Some areas in Colorado have few, if any providers. Particularly in the Western areas of the state.
But if you live and work in their service area, Friday Health potentially provides a very good value.
Friday currently offers four health plans: Catastrophic Plan (Choice Value 100), Bronze Basic, Silver, and Gold.
The Bronze level plan also has a high deductible option that qualifies you to make contributions to a health savings account, or HSA. This may be a great option if you and any family members are in relatively good health, you don’t expect to need to use your health insurance a lot, and you want to minimize monthly premiums and maximize your tax savings.
Some of Friday Health’s major in-network hospital providers include:
- Banner Health
- Boulder Community Hospital
- Boulder Medical Center
- Centura Health
- Children’s Hospital Colorado
- National Jewish Health
- SCL Health
Friday Health uses Concentra as an urgent care provider, along with some other locally contracted providers to supplement the network.
As always, one size doesn’t fit all. It’s important to compare each plan to determine which of them is the best fit for your particular circumstances.
What Does the Best Health Insurance in Colorado Cost?
Your out-of-pocket costs for health insurance in Colorado depends a lot on your income and whether you qualify for a subsidy under the Affordable Care Act.
About 43% of households who get insurance through the Marketplace qualify for a subsidy and pay $10 per month or less for health insurance, according to the Center for Medicare Services.
The average health insurance premium for a single individual in Colorado is $358 per month, without a subsidy, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The average cost for single individuals who do qualify for a subsidy is $78.
If you don’t qualify for a federal subsidy, your premieres will be much higher.
A lot depends on where you live, as well. Premiums in major cities like Denver tend to be lower than for people who live on the Western Slopes, for example.
What if I don’t qualify for an Obamacare Subsidy?
If you don’t qualify for an ACA subsidy, or your subsidy is very small, and you don’t have significant pre-existing conditions, a health sharing plan may be a good option for you.
Health sharing plans are not insurance. Instead, they are a compelling alternative to traditional insurance, available at a fraction of the cost of an unsubsidized Obamacare plan.
Health sharing plans are run by non-profit corporations called “health sharing ministry organizations,” or HSMOs. These organizations are generally faith-based, though not all require members to adhere to a specific faith.
HSMOs recruit like-minded members who commit to living generally healthy lifestyles. They then facilitate the voluntary sharing of medical expenses among their members.
The primary disadvantage of health sharing is that unlike traditional health insurance plans, health sharing plans can and do restrict benefits for those with pre-existing conditions.
But health sharing plans have several advantages, as well:
- They provide substantial protection against high unexpected medical costs – for up to 50% less per month than a traditional Obamacare policy without a subsidy. This alone can save a family thousands of dollars per year compared to standard unsubsidized health insurance plans.
- You can use your health sharing plan at any doctor or healthcare facility. Most health sharing plans do not limit you to providers in their network for non-emergency care.
- Health sharing plans also don’t have an open enrollment period. You can sign up at any time.
There are several terrific health sharing organizations doing business in Colorado, including:
Each of these excellent health sharing organizations have advantages and disadvantages. But they can all potentially help Colorado residents save significant amounts of money each month compared to the cost of an unsubsidized Affordable Care Act or other traditional health insurance plan.
Especially for families, and especially if there are no significant pre-existing conditions.
What To Do Now
You can get an instant quote for health insurance, or a health sharing plan. If you find something you like, with most plans you can sign up online.
If you’d like some free assistance, book your appointment with one of our Personal Benefits Advisors to go through your options. Our experienced health insurance professionals can work with you by going through your specific situation and comparing your options, and help you make the best choice.
Our services are always free. And we are one of the very few health insurance brokerages who can talk to you about all your options.
Including health sharing, and other options that Big Insurance doesn’t want you to know about!
But you only have a limited amount of time to sign up. Once open enrollment is done, it’s done!
Also, November and December are the busiest months of the year for health insurance agents. As we get deep into November and December, we expect to be solidly booked.
But you can beat the rush by booking your appointment now. Just click here and select your preferred time!
We’re standing by, and eager to help you empower yourself to get the best possible care for yourself and your family, at the lowest possible cost.
Leslie Jablonski is a Personal Benefits Manager at ColoHealth. Her aim is to help you make smart and informed healthcare coverage decisions that will fit your needs and budget. Read more about Leslie on her Bio page.