Exchange passes 118,000 in final enrollment push

DENVER – Following a last-minute rush, enrollments in health coverage via the state’s health-insurance exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, reached 118,628.

The open enrollment period to purchase coverage from the exchange ended Monday, and the exchange experienced a rush of people in the final hours, as those without coverage will be charged a penalty by the federal government when they filed their 2014 tax return.

The number of enrollees is expected to climb higher, according to a release from Connect for Health Colorado, because those who began the application process before the deadline can still finish it and receive coverage.

Now that open enrollment has closed, consumers must experience a “qualifying event,” such as a marriage, job change, or birth or adoption of a child, in order to be covered through the exchange.

The next open enrollment period will begin Nov. 15 and end Feb. 15, 2015.

An additional 158,521 people have enrolled in Medicaid through the state’s Medicaid expansion, authorized and funded through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Open enrollment for Medicaid and the Small Business Marketplace, the exchange for small businesses, is open year-round.

Medicaid expansion and Connect for Health Colorado have provided insurance to 277,149 people in the state since opening on Oct. 1.

Data on the number of previously uninsured who purchased coverage through the exchange are not available.

Molly Armbrister covers real estate, banking and health care for the Northern Colorado Business Report. She can be reached at 970-232-3139, marmbrister@ncbr.com or twitter.com/MArmbristerNCBR

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