Denver, CO — The Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition are amazed that the OmniSalud program – which allows low-income undocumented Coloradans and DACA recipients to enroll in affordable health insurance plans with financial assistance – reached 11,000 enrollments just 2 days after the start of open enrollment. This shockingly fast level of enrollment reaches the cap for enrolling in a Colorado Option plan with “SilverEnhanced Savings,” financial assistance that was made available for the first time starting last year. People can still enroll through OmniSalud, but without the financial assistance that has been exhausted, putting coverage beyond affordability for many.
Enrollment in the OmniSalud program exceeded expectations last year, hitting the cap for enrollments with financial assistance in just over a month, and it was assumed enrollment would go even faster this year. Hitting the cap in 2 days demonstrates how much need there is to expand funding for the program to be able to provide affordable coverage for more Coloradans.
“We knew enrollment for the OmniSalud program would go faster this year, but this is astonishing,” said Adam Fox, Colorado Consumer Health Initiative deputy director. “This shows the significant and urgent need to invest in this program so more of our community members who have been left out of our health systems can get reliable health coverage and access to the care they need. We wish the federal rule to allow individuals with DACA status to access programs under the ACA had been approved to allow more Coloradans to get covered.”
While enrollment in SilverEnhanced Savings has hit the funding cap, Coloradans who are not eligible for other programs can still enroll through OmniSalud, but would have to enroll in an unsubsidized plan and pay for the full premiums. The financial assistance is vital to making coverage affordable, just as has been documented with enrollment under the Affordable Care Act.
Prior to 2023, health insurance options for undocumented/DACA Coloradans were limited with many only seeking health care during emergencies, and with income limits for emergency Medicaid, many are left with medical debt or faced with impossible choices of paying medical bills or having a place to live and food on the table. It is evident that immigrant communities want the OmniSalud Program and financial assistance, as well as expanded access to other health care services including dental and vision care.
“We are excited to see such strong interest in the OmniSalud program! This shows just how urgent the need for affordable healthcare is among undocumented Coloradans and DACA recipients. It also underscores why it is so important that the Biden administration finalize the ruling to allow DACA recipients to be eligible for exchange coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – which would free up much needed spots in OmniSalud for other undocumented Coloradans. Every day that passes without addressing this need is a day that many in our community continue to face the impossible choices between medical bills, housing, and putting food on the table. We believe that every individual and family, regardless of their documentation status, should have the opportunity to access the vital healthcare they deserve,” shared Nayda Benitez, Campaign Manager with the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition.
Undocumented individuals wanting to enroll in health insurance plans can purchase full price Colorado Option plans through OmniSalud. People should enroll by December 15, 2022 for plans starting January 1, 2023. Open enrollment ends January 15, 2023 for plans beginning February 1. For those that cannot afford the full cost Colorado Option plans, they may still be able to qualify for Emergency Medicaid for life or limb threatening health events or access Hospital Discounted Care, which is provided to those with incomes up to 250% of the Federal Poverty Level regardless of insurance or documentation status.