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5,000 Coloradans still need health insurance

A report from Colorado Public Radio says at least 5,000 people will lose insurance in the Centennial State at the end of this month after Friday Health Plans were shut down earlier this year.

Despite warnings and prodding from groups like the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, there are still thousands of uninsured people.

“It’s just been a full-court press,” Kevin Patterson, the CEO of Connect for Health Colorado, told CPR. Connect for Health Colorado is the Colorado insurance exchange. Patterson did say brokers had heard from “hundreds of Friday Health customers,” but there is still a large gap in people who will go uninsured.

In early summer, it was announced that Friday Health Plans – considered an insurtech company – would have to wind down its operations across the nation. The company operated in five states, including Colorado.

According to an article in Health Care Dive, Colorado “had hoped the insurer had enough cash to operate for the rest of 2023.” But that did not happen. Friday Health was put into receivership and controlled by the state.

“… In July, the company’s national leadership laid off all its staff and essentially left state regulators to handle the management and administration of the company,” Colorado state insurance commissioner Michael Conway told CPR.

As for what happens next for the 5,000 uninsured Coloradans, officials told CPR that the special enrollment period is still open, which allows them to choose a new plan before the end of the year.

For people who enroll before the end of September, their coverage will go into effect on Oct. 1. People who enroll on Oct. 1 can have full health insurance beginning Nov. 1, while also beginning open enrollment for 2024.

Despite government agencies urging former Friday Health customers to seek out new coverage, Conway told CPR that claims can still be filed against the former insurance company, though he did say it could take years to recover those claims, if ever at all.

Conway also said there is concern from Friday customers about their loss in deductibles.

“Those people can file claims against the estate of the company to recover some of their losses,” the CPR article said.

In order to file that claim, customers must go through a special website created by the Colorado Division of Insurance.