DENVER–Colorado’s state exchange is set to open on time, officials said Tuesday.
When open enrollment begins Oct. 1, the exchange will be “largely functional,” though it won’t be without its glitches, a health official for Colorado’s health care exchange said.
“It may not have all the bells and whistles we want to have set up in the future, but we will have what we promised we would,” Jim Sugden, Connect for Health Colorado’s small business marketplace manager, said Tuesday at the Colorado State Association of Health Underwriters’ annual symposium.
The state exchanges established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are set to begin open enrollment Oct. 1, with coverage beginning Jan. 1.
Critics of the law have worried the exchanges won’t be ready on time, as the administration has struggled with getting both states and consumers on board.
On Oct. 1, Colorado’s state exchange will have “web access and most functions completed,” Sugden said. Also available will be access to broker individual and employer accounts, client accounts, proposal generation, and individual and group enrollment.
In the future, Sugden said, the exchange will have more enhancements that will especially help brokers, such as communication channels between brokers and clients and broker branding.
Colorado expects to certify 600-1,000 brokers in its exchange.
Sugden admitted that opening an exchange is anything from flawless.
“There will be a process to get the bugs out,” he said.
He also said he doesn’t expect people to flock to the exchange as soon as it opens in October, “We are realists. We think people will start shopping, but we know they are going to really think about what’s best for them.”
After Thanksgiving, he predicted, will be when people will really get serious about putting something in effect.
And brokers in the state should be ready to help.
“Brokers will need to communicate to clients about who is eligible for subsidies,” Sugden said. “[They] have advantages. [They] have new product options and new consumer opportunities.”