By Stephanie Tanny | Community Outreach, Colorado HealthOP
Most Americans will be required by law to have health insurance in 2014. In Colorado, health insurance shoppers have a new option for their health insurance coverage: Colorado HealthOP, Colorado’s first statewide nonprofit health insurance cooperative (CO-OP).
A New Model for Health Insurance
With a board of directors and executive team that have more than 330 years of combined healthcare experience, Colorado HealthOP knows what it takes to build a new alternative to traditional health insurance — one that is focused on people, not profits.
As a CO-OP, Colorado HealthOP is a health insurance company that gives its members a stronger voice in their healthcare. Members sit on and vote for the board of directors — influencing everything from what benefits are covered to how profits are reinvested.
The organization also strives to decrease healthcare costs for its members by paying for quality medical care as efficiently as possible and rewarding members for healthy behaviors — because healthier members mean lower healthcare costs for everyone.
The CO-OP model has been successfully used in other industries — including food, grain and electricity — and has the potential to improve the delivery of health care and provide more affordable coverage options for certain hard to reach populations such as independent workers, sole proprietorships, individuals living in rural or migrant communities, undocumented immigrants and others.*
Educating Coloradans About Healthcare
Since the Asian American community has the highest proportion of foreign-born individuals among all racial groups, many in our community have “mixed status” households where one or more members have an immigration status that differs from other members of the family. This can complicate the enrollment process.*
Colorado HealthOP is educating the community on these issues at events and presentations across the state to ensure members
have the coverage that works for them. To get involved or request a Colorado HealthOP speaker at your event, contact [email protected].
Colorado HealthOP also aims to improve the health of all Coloradans by offering a free pharmacy discount card that can be used at pharmacies nationwide. Pharmacy discount cards are available for download here.
Coloradans can purchase a Colorado HealthOP plan through Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s health insurance marketplace (www.connectforhealthco.org), at 855-697-1652, or through a statewide network of insurance brokers.
To learn more about Colorado HealthOP’s coverage options, call 855-697-1652 or visit www.COHealthOP.org.
Stephanie Tanny is a Community Outreach Organizer for Colorado HealthOP. Contact Stephanie at [email protected].
How the Affordable Care Act Helps Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs)
By 2016, 2.0 million AAPIs who would otherwise be uninsured will gain or be eligible for coverage.*
• Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s health insurance marketplace (www.connectforhealthco.com), allows you to more easily compare and shop and for health insurance, which is required for most people starting in 2014. (Note: Connect
for Health Colorado is independent from Healthcare.gov, the national health insurance marketplace used by other states.)
• Tax credits are available to help pay for health insurance. About 10% of AAPIs are likely to benefit from these tax credits*, which are only available in Colorado when you purchase a plan on Connect for Health Colorado.
• Assistance sites (such as the Asian Pacific Development Center, Colorado Alliance for Health Equity and Practice, and Denver Human Services) are available in various languages to help navigate the insurance options. Colorado HealthOP also has language assistance available for those interested in our plans.
• The small business marketplace and new small business tax credits will provide relief for more than 1.5 million Asian American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander-owned businesses in the U.S.* Visit www.connectforhealthco.com to learn more.
• Medicaid has been expanded to 133% of the poverty level, which will help nearly 1 in 10 Asian American adults (1 in 5 Bangladeshis; 1 in 6 Hmong).*
• Young adults are now eligible to remain covered under their parents’ health plan until age 26, which helps 97,000 young AAPI adults who were previously uninsured.*
• Insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, including asthma, diabetes or hypertension, which affect 3 in 10 Asian Americans.*
• Free preventative care has been expanded, which helps 2.7 million AAPIs with private insurance.*
• 867,000 AAPI beneficiaries in Medicare have access to a stronger Medicare program.*
*Condensed and reprinted with permission from the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF). Additional written permission is required for any other reproduction or future use of this material. Please contact: Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, 450 Sutter Street, Suite 600, San Francisco, CA 94618 or [email protected].