Hope Cook: Beware, health insurance enrollment shortened | SteamboatToday.com

Hope Cook: Beware, health insurance enrollment shortened

I would like to commend John Russell's article about the open enrollment that began on Wednesday, Nov. 1.

This year, given the climate of uncertainty in the world of health insurance (insurance that just about everyone appreciates as essential for health as well economic reasons), open enrollment offers the invaluable opportunity to try to find a health plan that fits the needs of the individual. But this year, with a shortened time frame of only six weeks to find a plan, it makes it imperative to apply as soon as possible.

Two great places to begin are either at Northwest Colorado Health or at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center. Their insurance navigators will first look over an applicant's pertinent information as Mr. Russell mentions in his article. These navigators can then refer supplicants to brokers who are more versed in the fine details of the plans.

All this help is free with no financial reward to the broker from the insurance companies for clients choosing a certain plan. There is also a way to get an idea of the costs of different plans before meeting with the navigators. Go to "Connect forHealth'sQuickCostPlanFinder" on the web.

The six-week open enrollment window is only from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15 for coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2018. If an applicant finds it too difficult to apply during that time frame, he or she can still apply as late as Jan. 12, 2018, but will not have health coverage until February. There will be no penalty for that delay, except for the risk of being without any health coverage during the month of January.

I encourage you to get more information from the Northwest Colorado Health or UC Health YVMC navigators. Their contact information is: Krystin Beadling, UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center, 970-879-1322, yvmc-fc@uchealth.org; or Brian Hurlburt, Northwest Colorado Health, 970-871-7330, bhurlburt@northwestcoloradohealth.org.

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I hope there is a health care plan out there for you. If you are concerned about the future of health care and health care insurance, please contact your elected officials, Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennett and Representative Scott Tipton with those concerns. They will ultimately decide when and how this very important subject is settled. Their decisions need our input to get the best results for all of America.

Hope Cook

Registered nurse at Northwest Colorado Health

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