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Colorado Health Insurance

Updated on September 17th, 2021

Fact checked by: Joseph Amodio

We want to help you make educated healthcare decisions. While this post may have links to lead generation forms, this won’t influence our writing. We adhere to strict editorial standards to provide the most accurate and unbiased information.

What You Need to Know

Colorado residents can sign up for individual or family coverage through Connect for Health Colorado.

Open Enrollment Period generally lasts from November 1 through January 15 of the next year.

Nine health insurance carriers offer individual and family plans in Colorado.

With its gorgeous mountain scenery and world-class skiing facilities, Colorado is a popular place to live. 

More than half of Colorado residents get their health insurance through their employers. Nearly 8 percent of the population is uninsured, which is close to the national average.1

If you’re one of the millions who are uninsured, here’s what you need to know about your options. 

Health insurance options in Colorado

Colorado health insurance costs decreased in 2020 and will remain low in 2021. In October 2019, the state announced that rates for healthcare plans on the state exchange would fall by an average of 20% in 2020. A year later it announced that low rate would dip even further (a drop of 1.4 percent in 2021 compared to 2020), despite the economic upheaval brought about by the pandemic.2 For many, the rate reductions were significant. And, if you qualify for subsidies, your premiums can be even lower, making insurance more affordable. 

In January 2014, Colorado expanded Medicaid coverage through the Affordable Care Act, including more adults and former foster children up to the age of 26. Thanks to the expansion, more than 400,000 Coloradans were covered.3

In Colorado, your healthcare coverage options are dependent on your age, employment status, and income. 

One thing to note is that short-term insurance plans are not an option in Colorado. Recent regulations affected short-term policies, causing insurers to cease operations in the state.

Check a 2021 subsidy chart and calculator to see which subsidies you might qualify for.

Individual health insurance options under the Affordable Care Act

If you’re ineligible for insurance through an employer, you can get health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado — Colorado’s version of healthcare.gov.5 Bronze, Silver, and Platinum health plans offer cover preventative service including doctor visits, hospitalizations, and mental health care.

You can only sign up for health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado during the 2022 Open Enrollment Period, which runs from November 1, 2021 through January 15, 2022. If you missed enrollment, you may be able to sign up for a plan if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. For example, if you lose your job, get married, or have a baby, you can apply for a plan outside of the Open Enrollment window.

You can shop online and compare plans at connectforhealthco.com.

Companies who offer health insurance

For 2022, eight health insurance companies offer individual insurance on the state exchange while one company has an off-exchange option.

The companies are:

A Quick Note

No matter what your family size, income, or employment status is, there are several health insurance options available to you in Colorado.

Health insurance costs

Health insurance costs dropped in 2021. The cost of the lowest-level silver plan cost $346 per month in 2021, on average — that’s down from $353 per month in 2020.6

For 2021, the state approved a 1.42% drop in premiums for the average unsubsidized premium, or $7 less a month.7

Average Marketplace Premiums by Metal Tier

In Colorado, the average premiums for each tier for 2019 to 2021 are as follows:8

Average Lowest-Cost201920202021
Bronze Premium$363$280$273
Silver Premium$475$353$346
Gold Premium$495$385$383

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Subsidies

If you don’t make much money, you may consider applying for an insurance policy through Connect for Health Colorado. Low-income individuals can qualify for subsidies that make insurance more affordable. Almost 115,000 Coloradans received healthcare subsidies in 2019 and 2020 alone.9

In 2020, the average premium tax credit, or subsidy was $370 in Colorado.10  

If you’re self-employed

If you’re self-employed, your best option is to sign up for an insurance plan through Connect for Health Colorado. You can qualify for a policy even if you have a preexisting condition, and you may be eligible for a subsidy that reduces the cost of your premiums. 

If you’re unemployed

If you leave your job or are laid off, you have two main options for health insurance: 

COBRA

You can maintain your previous employer’s health insurance policy through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). With COBRA, you can keep your coverage for up to 18 months, giving you plenty of time to find a job and other insurance options. However, you may be responsible for paying for the entire plan, up to 102% of the premium, which can be costly.12

If you’re low-income

If you are struggling to make ends meet, health insurance may seem like an unaffordable luxury. But skipping coverage can be a costly mistake. According to the Colorado Health Institute, 18.1% of Coloradans struggled to pay medical bills, and over 30% faced an unexpected medical bill in the past year.13

There are a few options available to give you health insurance coverage at a lower cost: 

Government-funded health insurance

Low-income residents in Colorado may qualify for the following programs: 

Health First Colorado

Health First Colorado is Colorado’s Medicaid program. Eligible people can qualify for free or low-cost coverage and get preventative care, dental care, emergency services and transportation, prescription coverage, and more.

Over 1.4 million people in Colorado are enrolled in Medicaid.14

You may qualify for Health First Colorado if you’re a parent or an adult without dependent children with a household income that doesn’t exceed 133% of the federal poverty line (FPL).15 As of 2020, your income must be below: 

Family Size133% of the Poverty Guideline
1$18,300.80
2$24,744.00
3$31,188.00
4$37,632.00

Child Health Plan+

The Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) is a low-cost health program for some children and pregnant women. If you make too much to qualify for Health First Colorado, but can’t afford private health insurance, Child Health Plan Plus can be a useful alternative.

To be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:16 

  • You must be a child under 19 or a pregnant woman age 19 or over
  • Your income can’t exceed 260% of the FPL
  • You must be lawfully residing within the state
  • You must not qualify for other health insurance

As of February 2021, 68,107 residents had enrolled in Colorado’s CHIP.17

Medicare 

As of 2020, more than 931,000 Colorado residents enrolled in Medicare. About 57% signed up for Original Medicare while the remainder chose Medicare Advantage.18

While Medicare is usually for older people, you may qualify for Medicare if you have been entitled to Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits for the past 24 months. Or, you have Lou Gehrig’s disease or are a kidney dialysis or kidney transplant patient.

Almost nine in 10 residents qualified for Medicare because they turned 65; the rest were eligible because they had a disability.19

With Medicare, hospital care lab tests, surgeries, and prescription drug coverage is provided.20

Once you’re 65 or older, you’re eligible for Medicare. If you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for 10 years or more, you’re eligible for premium-free Medicare Part A. In other words, you can enjoy health insurance without worrying about expensive monthly premiums.

If you don’t meet the criteria for premium-free Medicare Part A, you may be able to buy into the system. Use the Medicare Eligibility Calculator to see if you qualify for Medicare and to estimate what your premiums would be.21

There are different terms regarding Medicare you should know: 

  • Medicare Part A: Medicare Part A covers inpatient care in a hospital, skilled care in a nursing care facility, hospice care, and home health care.
  • Medicare Part B: Medicare Part B covers medically necessary services and preventative services, including ambulance services, mental health inpatient or outpatient care, and medical equipment.
  • Medicare Advantage Plans: Medicare Advantage Plans — sometimes referred to as Medicare Part C — are offered by private companies approved by Medicare. Medicare Advantage Plans provide all of your Part A and Part B coverage and may provide additional benefits like vision, dental, and health and wellness coverage.
  • Medicare Part D: Medicare Part D is an optional benefit you can add to Medicare for prescription drug coverage. In Colorado, .about 337,000 people enrolled in standalone Medicare prescription drug plans.22
  • Medicare Supplement Insurance: Medicare Supplement Insurance — also known as Medigap — is sold by private insurance companies. A Medigap policy covers some of the costs not covered by Original Medicare, such as copayments or your deductibles

Medicare Savings Program

In Colorado, you may be able to get some help with your Medicare premiums, deductibles, and co-insurance if you can’t afford them. People with limited income and resources may qualify for the Medicare Savings Program (MSP). To be eligible, you must meet monthly income limits and have limited assets. For more information and to apply, visit the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing website.

Applying for health insurance in Colorado

No matter what your family size, income, or employment status is, there are several health insurance options available to you in Colorado. By exploring your options, you can find an affordable plan that works for your needs and gives you essential protection. 



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  1. Kaiser Family Foundation. “Health Insurance Coverage of the Total Population.” kff.org (accessed December 17, 2020); U.S. Census Bureau. “Health Insurance Coverage in the United States.” census.gov (accessed December 17, 2020).

  2. Miller, Blair. “Colorado Announces 20% Average Reduction Across Individual Health Insurance Premiums for 2020.” thedenverchannel.com (accessed December 17, 2020); “Reinsurance Saving Consumers 20.8% on Average in 2021,” Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (accessed December 17, 2020).

  3. Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. “Colorado Medicaid Expansion.” colorado.gov (accessed December 17, 2020).

  4. Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. “Updated Regulation to Govern Short-term Health Plans in Colorado.” colorado.gov (accessed December 17, 2020).

  5. Connect for Health Colorado. “Colorado’s Official Health Insurance Marketplace.” connectforhealthco.com. Accessed September 16, 2021.

  6. Kaiser Family Foundation. “Average Marketplace premiums By Metal Tier.” kff.org. Accessed September 16, 2021.

  7. ACA Sign Ups. “Colorado: *Approved* avg. 2021 #ACA premiums: -1.4% indy mkt, 3.8% sm. group.” acasignups.net. Accessed September 16, 2021.

  8. Kaiser Family Foundation. “Average Marketplace Premiums by Metal Tier.” kff.org. Accessed September 16, 2021.

  9. Kaiser Family Foundation. “Estimated Total Premium Tax Credits Received By Marketplace Enrollees.” kff.org. Accessed September 16, 2021.

  10. Estimated Total Premium Tax Credits Received By Marketplace Enrollees.”

  11. Kaiser Family Foundation. “Marketplace Effectuated Enrollment and Financial Assistance.” kff.org. Accessed September 16, 2021.

  12. Colorado Division of Human Resources. “COBRA.” Colorado.gov. Accessed September 16, 2021.

  13. Colorado Health Institute. “2019 Colorado Health Access Survey: Progress in Peril.” coloradohealthinstitute.org. Accessed September 16, 2021.

  14. U.S. Government Website for Medicaid. “April 2021 Medicaid and CHIP Enrollment Data Highlights.” medicaid.gov. Accessed September 16, 2021.

  15. Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing. “Health First Colorado.” colorado.gov. Accessed September 16, 2021.

  16. Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing. “Child Health Plan Plus.” colorado.gov. Accessed September 16, 2021.

  17. U.S. Government Website for Medicaid. “April 2021 Medicaid and CHIP Enrollment Data Highlights.” medicaid.gov. Accessed September 16, 2021.

  18. Kaiser Family Foundation. “Total Number of Medicare Beneficiaries.” kff.org. Accessed September 16, 2021.

  19. Kaiser Family Foundation. “Distribution of Medicare Benefits By Eligibility Criteria.” kff.org. Accessed September 16, 2021.

  20. U.S. Department for Health & Human Services. “Who Is Eligible for Medicare?” hhs.gov. Accessed September 16, 2021.

  21. Who Is Eligible for Medicare?

  22. Kaiser Family Foundation. “Medicare Prescription Drug Plans: Standalone PDP Enrollment.” kff.org. Accessed September 16, 2021.