Voice of the consumer: Coloradans without health insurance have another chance
Our 11 News Call For Action team pens a weekly column for our news partner The Gazette. Previous columns can be found here.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Coloradans without health insurance have another opportunity to get coverage.
Recently, President Joe Biden issued an executive order that reopened enrollment on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces. According to the state, Colorado’s exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, will mirror the president’s order and reopen for enrollment, as well.
The enrollment period will be open from Feb. 8 to May 15. The state says health insurance coverage will begin on the first day of the month after a plan is selected.
“This special enrollment period is for people without health insurance and begins a week earlier than the federal exchange,” a news release stated.
The regular open enrollment period in Colorado ended Jan. 15. Nearly 180,000 Coloradans enrolled in 2021 coverage. According to Connect for Health Colorado, that’s about 8% higher than the previous year.
The state said the extra enrollment period will benefit the number of people who are uninsured, especially those who lost a job during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m pleased that we can offer another opportunity to help people protect their health and safety this year,” said Kevin Patterson, Connect For Health Colorado’s CEO. “Now is a great time to remind friends and neighbors who missed the Open Enrollment deadline that it’s not too late to sign up and that help is available. I urge Coloradans who haven’t enrolled yet to call us or visit our website to find free enrollment assistance near you.”
People can start enrolling for coverage on Feb. 8 at www.ConnectforHealthCO.com. If you have questions, call 855-752-6749.
This week, I also wanted to pass along a warning from IRS investigators. I recently spoke with Special Agent in Charge Andy Tsui out of the agency’s the Denver office.
Tsui told me they’re seeing an uptick in scams and fraud related to stimulus checks since people are still receiving the second round of payments and there’s talks of a third round.
“We definitely see an increase in these types of scams around this time, especially since tax season is upon us also,” Tsui said. “It may feel like it seems normal to get a correspondence or some kind of contact from the IRS, but definitely be cautious.”
He told me the easiest way for people to protect themselves is to know what to look for. The IRS will not contact people through text message, email or by phone. If someone contacts you demanding money or asking for personal information and claiming to be from the IRS, that’s a red flag.
“Anytime you’re in a situation like that, take a step back, think about it, do some research to determine if it’s a scam or not,” Tsui said.
There are several ways to report scams like this. If it’s a suspicious email that appears to be from the IRS, you can forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your stimulus payment is stolen, you can report it online at tips.tigta.gov.
Remember, you can always report scams, fraud and price gouging to the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. The consumer hotline number is 800-222-4444.
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