UPDATE: Connect for Health Colorado announces COVID-19 SEP thru 4/03

via the Colorado Dept. of Regulatory Agencies Insurance Division, it looks like Connect for Health Colorado is about to go ahead and establish their own COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period after all (this is from an internal draft document...the dates could still change, and it's not 100% guaranteed that they'll go ahead with it yet):


DRAFT Emergency Regulation 20-E-02


...This emergency regulation is promulgated and adopted by the Commissioner of Insurance under the authority of §§ 10-1-108(7)(a), (7)(b)(III), 10-1-109(1), 10-16-105(2)(b), 10-16-105.7(3)(a)(II)(G), 10-16-105.7(3)(b)(II)(F),10-16-108.5(8), and 10-16-109, C.R.S.

Section 2 Scope and Purpose

The purpose of this emergency regulation is to allow for a special enrollment period to enroll in a health benefit plan for a period of 15 days beginning March 20, 2020 until April 3, 2020. The Division of Insurance finds, pursuant to § 24-4-103(6)(a), C.R.S., that immediate adoption of this
regulation is imperatively necessary for the preservation of public health, safety, or welfare because allowing individuals not currently enrolled in health benefit plans in Colorado to enroll in a health benefit plan in order to receive coverage for COVID-19-related testing and care is imperative to preserve the health of the citizens of Colorado. Therefore, compliance with the requirements of § 24-4-103, C.R.S., would be contrary to the public interest.

Section 3 Applicability

This regulation shall apply to all carriers offering individual health benefit plans subject to the individual laws of Colorado and the requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Section 4 Definitions

  • A. “Carrier” shall have the same meaning as found at § 10-16-102(8), C.R.S.
  • B. “Health benefit plan” shall have the same meaning as found at § 10-16-102(32), C.R.S.
  • C. “Special enrollment period” or “SEP” shall mean, for purposes of this regulation only, a period during which an individual who meets the requirements under Section 5.B. may enroll in a health benefit plan outside the initial and annual open enrollment periods.

Section 5 Special Enrollment Period Requirements

A. A carrier offering a health benefit plan in this state shall establish a SEP that:

  1. Begins on March 20, 2020 and extends through April 3, 2020; and
  2. Ensures a coverage effective date for a plan selected by April 3, 2020 will be no later than April 1, 2020.

B. Application and Verification requirements

  1. To access this special enrollment period, individuals must be otherwise eligible for enrollment in an individual health benefit plan and must not already be enrolled in an individual health benefit plan. Only individuals not currently enrolled in an individual health benefit plan are eligible for the SEP established under Section 5.A.
  2.  Individuals may apply for the SEP provided under Section 5.A. by contacting Connect for Health Colorado or the carrier directly to determine eligibility and enrollment.
  3. To verify eligibility for the SEP, individuals shall attest that they are currently not enrolled in an individual health benefit plan. Verbal attestation is sufficient for purposes of determining eligibility for this special enrollment period. Carriers shall not require additional verification or attestation beyond the eligibility and enrollment information provided by Connect for Health Colorado. Carriers shall not require written documentation for verification of this SEP.
  4. The eligibility verification requirements of Colorado Insurance Regulation 4-2-43, 3 CCR 702-4, do not apply to this special enrollment period.

Note: According to an Inside Health Policy article by Amy Lotven, "Colorado’s exchange is waiting for its governor’s office to sign off on a COVID-19-specific SEP.... A final decision is expected Thursday."

UPDATE 3/19: It's official:

Uninsured Coloradans Can Enroll during a Special Enrollment Period in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak

DENVER — To help as many people as possible protect their health and safety during the COVID-19 outbreak, Connect for Health Colorado® announces a new Special Enrollment period that starts Friday, March 20, 2020 and ends Friday, April 3, 2020. Coloradans who are uninsured qualify to enroll in a health insurance plan for coverage that starts April 1, 2020.

To sign up for coverage through the Marketplace- the only place where residents can qualify for financial help to lower costs- Coloradans can complete an application and select a health insurance plan:

  • Online at ConnectforHealthCO.com.
  • Over the phone at 855-752-6749, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. We’re also extending Customer Service Center hours this weekend and next, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
  • Working with a certified enrollment expert. Many local experts continue to provide virtual and/or phone appointments.

Applicants should select the enrollment reason as, “Will lose or lost health insurance and/or have no other health coverage during the COVID-19 outbreak” and input the application date as the qualifying life change event date. Residents who take these steps will not be asked by health insurance companies to provide documentation to verify their eligibility for the Special Enrollment period.

As always, Coloradans can sign up for a plan if they experience other qualifying life change events, including loss of job-based and Health First Colorado (Medicaid) coverage. Coloradans may be eligible to enroll in a new plan if they experience changes or losses in income, which should be reported to Connect for Health Colorado. Residents who qualify for Health First Colorado (Medicaid) or the Child Health Plan Plus program can enroll online through the PEAK application any time during the year.