On January 1, 2014, more than 600,000 Coloradans will be newly eligible for Medicaid or new insurance affordability programs. As early as next month, Coloradans can begin filling out applications to receive health benefits starting next year. Colorado’s Community Health Centers (CHCs) are doing their part to ensure that Coloradans who qualify for health benefits understand the exciting changes happening as a result of health care reform.
For Coloradans struggling to pay for health insurance, health care reform means new options for paying for health benefits. More than 500,000 Coloradans earning low or middle incomes may qualify for “insurance affordability programs”—reduced cost health insurance, or help paying for co-pays—in addition to the 160,000 people who will qualify for free or low cost Medicaid due to Medicaid expansion.
Statistics alone won’t help families pay the medical bills, though. CHCs recognize that with so many changes taking place, Colorado needs people to help individuals and families apply, understand their options, and enroll in coverage. There are countless barriers to accessing and using health insurance, even when it is available and affordable. Families often face challenges with navigating and filling out applications, understanding and weighing their options, knowing how to stay enrolled, and understanding the consequences and risks involved.
To help ease the challenges and barriers associated with enrollment, all 18 of Colorado’s CHCs are collectively hiring more than 100 Health Coverage Guides, certified application counselors, and other outreach and enrollment professionals. These staff members will be stationed at clinic sites and in communities around the state to help the nearly 182,000 patients who don’t have coverage understand their options, fill out applications, and get enrolled!
Outreach and enrollment professionals are essential to the success of health care reform. Are you interested in joining this movement and helping individuals and families in your community gain coverage and peace of mind? Check out the CHAMPS job board to learn more about open positions. For more information about Colorado’s 18 CHCs, visit the CCHN website.