The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) reduces poverty and promotes economic security for thousands of Coloradans by providing better access to more affordable health care. While many of the provisions of the health care reform law have already had a significant impact on the lives of thousands of Coloradans, two of the most significant changes will occur in the coming months. The expansion of Medicaid and the creation of the new health insurance marketplace will provide greater economic security for hundreds of thousands of low- and middle-income Coloradans.
A summary of the highlights of the ACA include:
Medicaid Expansion. By expanding Medicaid eligibility to individuals at or below 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) an additional 160,000 Coloradans will qualify for coverage through Medicaid.
Increased Access through Connect for Health Colorado (C4HCO). Colorado’s new state-run insurance exchange will allow consumers and small businesses to compare plans, ask questions, access information on eligibility for aid programs, and enroll in comprehensive health insurance.
Subsidies for low-income Coloradans through C4HCO. Eligible Coloradans will receive premium assistance subsidies in the form of tax credits on a sliding scale through Connect for Health Colorado.
Small business tax credits through the C4HCO. More than 100,000 businesses in Colorado with 25 or fewer employees may receive a tax credit of up to 50 percent of the employer’s total contribution toward employee premiums.
Consumer protection and a Patient’s Bill of Rights. The ACA has significantly enhanced consumer protections including guaranteeing insurance plans provide minimum “essential health benefits,” ensuring coverage is not denied because of preexisting conditions, removing annual and lifetime dollar limits, and offering preventative care at no cost.
Expanded primary care. Since 2010, federal funding for Colorado’s community health centers — serving 475,000 patients each year — has increased more than $9.5 million annually.
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The Affordable Care Act enhances economic security and reduces poverty for low-income Coloradans