Gilpin County Health Coverage Guide
By Roger Baker
The rollout of the Affordable Care Act has certainly been fraught with problems, but even in tiny Gilpin County there is ongoing activity to make the process for signing up for the new health care exchange as painless as possible for our citizens.
Technically speaking the Colorado registration program is called Connect for Health Colorado, and that website is www.ConnectforHealthCO.com. There are seventeen participating insurers that computer-savvy Gilpinites can choose among on that site.
Individuals earning between $15,500 and $45,500, and families with slightly higher incomes, can receive subsidies for purchasing insurance through one of the plans. There’s also a toll-free phone number, 1-855-PLANS4YOU, that folks can use to sign up.
Still, any sort of health insurance decision is necessarily complicated, so a more local sort of interaction can be reassuring for many people.
So Gilpin County (among others) has teamed with Mountain Resource Center to provide a full-time “Health Coverage Guide” named Debby Henkens who will actually spend part of her time in the County, providing face-to-face assistance to Gilpinites who wish it.
Debby is devoting a couple of days a week (Mondays & Wednesday) to serve Gilpin County folks. She’ll be housed at the Human Services office in the Justice Center off Highway 46, and also has her own email contact, email@example.com. She’ll also answer questions for those who want specific advice, 720-244-5575.
Those means of contact can be used to set up appointments with Debby to get one-on-one assistance. But even better, there are a number of workshops scheduled for individuals to get help, and the first of those is coming up this Saturday, November 2, at the Gilpin Library. The general session will be from 1 to 3:30, but she’ll also be taking individual appointments (use the phone number above to schedule) from 10 until noon.
There are two more public informational meetings to follow: Wednesday, November 6, from 1 to 2 at the Community Center, and Thursday, November 14, from 3:30 to 5 at Roy’s Last Shot.
Things get even more complicated when one figures the Medicaid expansion into the mix, and it’s somewhat of a moving target right now; at this writing, there is talk about at least pushing back the original December 15 deadline for folks who don’t have insurance to get registered with one of the designated Colorado health exchange providers.
There are flyers around for these events, and of course we’re publicizing them on the County website, www.co.gilpin.co.us, and we’ll provide reminders on Twitter and Facebook as well.
But we want to always remember that even for those who have computer skills and internet access, these are complicated programs that can certainly be made less intimidating with a real live human to walk us through the process.
Owners of small businesses (2 to 50 employees) will also have to offer some sort of insurance through the exchange, and there may be tax credits to offset some of those costs; Debby can help with those situations as well. Again, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 720-244-5575 for an appointment.
Whatever one’s political views about the Affordable Care Act, there’s no doubt that it’s a major change that will affect millions of Americans. We in Gilpin County government want to make sure that our residents navigate this change as easily as possible.