Program offers help in navigating health insurance market

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Christie Higgins

Help is available for individuals and small businesses struggling to navigate the health insurance market.

“Our goal here is to guide people,” said Christie Higgins, a community access manager for Hilltop Community Resources who oversees Hilltop’s Health Access.

The program offers assistance in comparing various health insurance options and enrolling for coverage. Hilltop’s Health Access operates a certified assistance site for Connect for Health Colorado, the state health care exchange. Higgins said that means staff has received training and understands the various insurance plans offered on the exchange.

Assistance is available over the phone, online, and in-person to evaluate coverage options and enroll, Higgins said. People have until Dec. 15 to enroll for coverage starting in January and until Jan. 15 for coverage beginning in February.

It pays to shop, Higgins said, in finding the best coverage for the lowest price. Depending on their income, people could qualify for tax credits that could save them thousands of dollars on insurance premiums over the course of a year, she said. Last year, thousands of Colorado residents didn’t take advantage of tax credits that could have reduced the cost of their insurance.

Hilltop’s Health Access also can help businesses with fewer than 50 employees evaluate and arrange for health care coverage, Higgins said.

Staff can help employees explore options and enroll for coverage. Some employees who work for businesses that offer group health coverage could have different needs or struggle to pay for their part of coverage, she said.

“We would encourage businesses to reach out to us,” Higgins said.

To schedule an appointment or obtain more information about Hilltop’s Health Access, call 244-0850 or visit www.hilltopshealthaccess.org.