Insurance exchange adds Sunday hours; CEO withdraws raise request

Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s new insurance exchange created to implement the Affordable Care Act, will now offer Sunday hours in a bid to boost enrollment.

Customer service centers for the exchange in Denver and Colorado Springs have staffers available from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and will begin Sunday hours Dec. 8, 15 and 22, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., to help people meet the Dec. 23 deadline to enroll for coverage effective Jan. 1.

Potential customers have faced long wait times, with the busiest days being Monday and Tuesday and wait times highest between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m, according to a statement issued by the exchange. Exchange spokesman Ben Davis was not immediately available for comment.

Those who call early, between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., and late, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., are likely to experience the shortest wait times.

In a statement, the exchange said enrollment continues to grow and that more than 1,000 people signed up on Wednesday of this week, a new record. Still, enrollment has lagged far behind initial forecasts. Officials had hoped to enroll 22,215 to 61,000 people by now, but earlier this week, just 9,980 individuals had been enrolled in the private insurance program. Another 64,290 have been rolled in the newly expanded Medicaid program. Exchange spokesman Ben Davis said new enrollment numbers would be released Monday.

In other exchange news, Chief Executive Officer Patty Fontneau withdrew her request for a raise this year, saying the controversy around the request was distracting from her agency’s mission to get people enrolled in time for the Jan. 1 deadline.

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