Health District of Northern Larimer County can help sort out new health coverage options

The Health District of Northern Larimer County, along with other organizations, is launching Larimer Health Connect to help residents of Larimer County understand and participate in new health coverage options, including the state’s new online health-care marketplace, Connect for Health Colorado.

Larimer Health Connect starts Oct. 1, when the Connect for Health Colorado Marketplace opens.

Connect for Health Colorado offers individuals, families and small employers an online marketplace for health insurance and exclusive access to new up‐front income-based financial assistance to reduce the cost of premiums. Customers shop through a website, and get expert help in person and over the phone from a network of professionals, including certified health coverage guides, and health insurance agents and brokers. The online marketplace was established by a 2011 state law. It is a public, non‐profit entity.

Open enrollment is Oct. 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014. Coverage begins as early as Jan. 1, 2014 if insurance is purchased by Dec. 15, 2013.

As a Connect for Health Colorado Certified Assistance Site, the Health District will have certified health coverage guides at multiple locations who can provide in-person assistance to individuals, families and small businesses shopping for private health insurance. Guides also can help people apply for financial help with premiums. Staff will also be able to determine if people are eligible for Medicaid or Child Health Plan Plus, and help with the application process if they are.

In-person assistance is available at five locations in Larimer County:

• Larimer Health Connect, 144 N. Mason St., Unit 7, in Fort Collins (2 hours free parking in the Mason Street parking garage).
• Larimer County Department of Human Services, 1501 Blue Spruce Drive, First Floor, in Fort Collins.
• Family Medicine Center, 1025 Pennock Place in Fort Collins (By appointment only).
• Salud Family Health Center, 1635 Blue Spruce Drive in Fort Collins (By appointment only).
• Larimer County Offices, 205 East Sixth St., Second Floor, in Loveland.

Connect for Health Colorado is available to individuals and families who buy their own health insurance, currently do not have health insurance or do not have access to affordable coverage through an employer (insurance for employee only — not for spouse or dependents — that costs more than 9.5 percent of household income). The marketplace is also available to small businesses and non-profit organizations with 2–50 full-time employees who want to help their employees obtain quality health insurance.

To make an appointment at a Larimer Health Connect assistance site, call 970-472-0444 M-F, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., or visit LarimerHealthConnect.org. Walk-ins and same day appointments may be available at some locations. It is recommended to call first and check availability.

People also can browse or select health-care plans for themselves, their family or their company directly by going to connectforhealthco.com or by calling 1-855-PLANS-4-YOU (1-855-752-6749).

The health district is a public agency that provides dental, mental health, prescription assistance and health promotion services to residents of northern Larimer County.

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