Colorado: All 11,000 subsidized OmniSalud enrollment openings filled in just 2 days

via Connect for Health Colorado:

Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s official health insurance marketplace, has announced that the maximum number of individuals (11,000) have submitted a Colorado Connect application for 2024 and been found eligible for Silver Enhanced Savings, the financial help for enrollees in the OmniSalud program.

Kevin Patterson, CEO of Connect for Health Colorado, released the following statement:

“We anticipated that we would see significant financial help determinations early in the enrollment period for OmniSalud; the response we saw yesterday and today has exceeded even our very high expectations. I’m truly grateful for and astounded by the response.

We understand people will be disappointed to learn the funding limit has already been reached, and we hope to continue to find ways to expand the program in the future to meet the demand. I want to express my gratitude for the additional spots made available this year as well as the extraordinary work from our enrollment network and community partners.

While the financial help spots have been claimed, we do encourage people who are interested in the OmniSalud program to continue to apply. They will still be able to enroll in plans at regular cost, and we want to be sure to capture the ongoing interest in the program. If you missed out on the financial help, I recommend consulting with one of our enrollment experts. Our Brokers and Assisters are very knowledgeable about health care and coverage options and are here to help.”

The OmniSalud program provides undocumented Coloradans with a safe way to compare affordable health insurance plans, get financial help if eligible, and enroll securely. The OmniSalud program is available on Colorado Connect, Connect for Health Colorado’s public benefit corporation and online enrollment platform.

Last month, the Colorado Division of Insurance announced that for 2024, it would increase the availability of financial assistance for health insurance in the OmniSalud program to 11,000 individuals, a 10 percent increase from 10,000 individuals in 2023.

Last year, Connect for Health Colorado reported that it met the funding limit for Silver Enhanced Savings by December 6, 2022.

The Open Enrollment Period runs through January 15, 2024.

Under the Affordable Care Act, undocumented immigrants are not allowed to receive federal financial subsidies. In fact, until this year, none of the ACA exchanges (federal or state-based) even allowed undocumented immigrants to enroll at full price, which is one of the more absurd provisions of the law. Thankfully, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved a request by Washington State to start doing just that starting this year. While undocumented immigrants don't receive federal subsidies, they do qualify for more limited financial help from the state.

In Colorado's case, they didn't get a waiver to let undocumented immigrants use the official C4HCO exchange interface; instead, they set up a separate section of the main website called OmniSalud for this purpose. Similar to Washington, Colorado is also providing this population with state financial subsidies:

This financial assistance, provided through the DOI’s Health Insurance Affordability Enterprise (HIAE), lowers health insurance premiums for qualifying individuals in the OmniSalud program to $0 per month. These plans, specifically the Silver Enhanced Savings Colorado Option plans, also significantly lower out-of-pocket costs for medical expenses, covering 94% of these costs. To qualify for financial assistance, people must earn less than 150% (or 1.5x) the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) - that’s less than $21,870 per year for an individual, and less than $45,000 per year for a family of four - and be ineligible for any federal assistance for health coverage.

I'm assuming that the reason the 11,000 filled up so quickly this year is that most of them were already part of the 10,000 who enrolled last year, but it's still impressive.

Colorado's subsidies are more generous than Washingtons for the undocumented population, but it's also limited to a smaller number of enrollees. Washington's subsidies are less generous but there's no hard enrollment cap.