dollar_on_back_400_wht-460-4001For the estimated 716,000+ residents of Colorado who still haven’t got health insurance coverage, the state’s Division of Insurance recently released rates of various health plans that comply with the overhaul of the America’s health care system. Eighteen insurance companies currently operating in Colorado will offer 541 separate plans for individuals and small groups.

To help the uninsured shop for insurance, the state of Colorado will open its insurance marketplace on October 1 this year. The health insurance exchange will be called Connect For Health Colorado and has hired “navigators” to explain the health insurance options at various community events, including health fairs. The exchange also has promotional efforts like TV and radio ads planned to get the word out about shopping for insurance.

Many of the states uninsured will be eligible for free healthcare through Medicaid or subsidized health insurance depending on their incomes. But for those choosing to skip health insurance altogether – be warned – they will be fined a minimum of $95 from 2014 onwards — and the fines will go up in subsequent years. So health officials are hoping the exchange will help sign up thousands of uninsured Coloradans by explaining to them the new benefits under the overhaul.

According to this AP article: “… young and healthy customers can now find cheaper premiums for catastrophic health insurance. Health officials are trying to soften the sticker shock by talking up additional benefits those young and healthy consumers will see under the new health insurance plans, such as lower out-of-pocket costs and free preventive care and cancer screenings”

In another example, “… monthly premiums for a 40-year-old customer will range from $177 a month to more than $1,000 a month. The wide range of rates is because premiums depend on the level of coverage and wherein the state a person lives.”

It is also important to note, rates and options available under the new marketplace will depend on where in Colorado a customer lives. By 2015, insurers will also be charging different rates for smokers and non-smokers. The Colorado Insurance Division also approved rates for small group plans, affecting businesses with more than 50 employees. For the least expensive small group plan, monthly base rates for premiums range from $224 with Kaiser Permanente, going all the way up to $1,003 with Humana.

Colorado state officials insist customers will have plenty of help through the state exchange in understanding the new health care landscape. As for how popular and effective the marketplace will be for the uninsured, we’ll only know once it goes live later this year.

Source: Yahoo! News