Created by Colorado for Coloradans, Connect for Health Colorado® is a public, non-profit entity established by the Colorado General Assembly to create a health insurance marketplace. It is the only place where Coloradans can purchase their own health insurance, and compare plans side by side. Its award-winning decision support tools enable customers to get an estimate of the overall cost of coverage under the various offered health plans. It also offers a directory of physicians and other care providers that would be in network under various offerings, and visibility into the coverage for prescription medications under the offered health plans.
" We have relied on strong relationships with the state Division of Insurance and the state Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to navigate the sometimes-abrupt shifts in policy to achieve growth in a challenging environment. "
Kevin Patterson, CEO of Connect for Health Colorado, said the organization’s focus is on their customers, working in collaboration with all stakeholders, staff and board of directors. Alongside investing in technology and customer support teams that make it easier for Coloradans to choose the health insurance plan that best meets their family needs and access the financial help for which they may qualify. Kevin’s experience positioned him to build relationships with numerous stakeholders, state and federal agencies, policy makers and business groups so that they could understand not only Connect for Health Colorado’s mission but also a broader view of what it can accomplish with its unique range of capabilities, technological assets and experience.
When Kevin was named CEO in 2015, the organization was challenged in public conversations about the long-term financial sustainability of Connect for Health Colorado and its future after it was no longer receiving federal start-up grants. Kevin immediately made his strategy clear. The organization would focus primarily on improving the customer experience. Connect for Health Colorado has managed to grow enrollment each year and it helped drive the rate of insured Coloradans to an historic high—94 percent of the population, one of the highest rates in the nation. At the same time, Kevin has made the organization more cost effective through strategic cost reductions and by focusing limited revenue in places that drove value to consumers, while increasing compliance with various regulatory concerns.
Connect for Health Colorado has relied on community-based organizations to provide a channel of communication and customer assistance accessible to residents in all of the state’s 64 counties. Connect for Health Colorado supports hundreds of licensed brokers with ongoing training and certification programs. Brokers have a voice in the organization’s direction with seats on an advisory group to the board of directors and through regular broker “focus group” sessions that provide open-ended forums specific to brokers’ concerns.
Connect for Health Colorado works closely with the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, which administers Medicaid, and with the Colorado Division of Insurance, who regulates individual and small group health insurance. Each agency holds a seat on the Connect for Health Colorado Board of Directors and has a voice in the strategic direction of the enterprise.
Connect for Health Colorado over the past 12 months has developed and implemented its own eligibility system. This technology platform must apply federal funding formulas across thousands of unique demographic profiles and ensure compliance with a host of federal and state statutes. By regularly convening stakeholders, engaging a vendor with expertise in user interface, Connect for Health Colorado has developed a much more user-friendly, streamlined process that users report can be completed in half the time the previous application required. The new platform helped increase the number of customers qualifying for financial help with their coverage.
As Colorado’s state-based health insurance marketplace, Connect for Health Colorado has grown in reach and impact, despite a continuing policy debate that has at times confused customers and the public at large. “By continuing to work and clearly communicate our mission, we have overcome the noise,” says Kevin. “We have relied on strong relationships with the state Division of Insurance and the state Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to navigate the sometimes-abrupt shifts in policy to achieve growth in a challenging environment.”
Kevin Patterson, CEO
Connect for Health Colorado is Colorado's official health insurance marketplace and the only place you can apply for financial help to lower your monthly costs.