Open enrollment runs until May 15

If you’re looking to make changes to your healthcare plan for the upcoming fiscal year, your chance to do so starts today. 

Colorado’s open enrollment starts today and runs through May 15, 2017.

open-enrollmentOpen enrollment period is the one time of year when workers can make changes to their Health/Life/Dental policies.

If you are happy with your coverage, you do not need to make any changes, your current plan choices will roll over into the next plan year, unless you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). 

If you hava a FSA or would like to make changes to your coverage, you have until May 15 to make updates your plan. 

Please note: open enrollment at the University of Colorado (all campuses) runs through May 12. 

It appears that only CU has its own Open Enrollment deadline, but if you work at a higher education institution, please check with your Human Resources department to make sure you don’t miss the deadline for healthcare coverage. 

Health & Dental premiums

Three of the four available healthcare plans have had changes to the premiums cost: two are increasing slightly and one is decreasing. There are no changes to the cost of the dental plan premiums. 

You can see the cost differences in the matrix on the right. healthcare premium rate comparison 16-17 vs 17-18 matrix

You have until May 15 to make changes to your healthcare plan, so take a moment to review your options today.

If you have any questions about open enrollment or benefit plans, please contact your department’s benefit administrator (link at the very bottom of the page). 




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State employees must take action to keep healthcare

After a competitive request for proposal (RFP) process, the State of Colorado will offer new healthcare and dental plans starting July 1, 2015. This means that all state employees must go through the active enrollment process in order to be covered in the new fiscal year.

2015-mandatory-open-enrollmentThe state’s 2015 Open Enrollment runs until May 14 and every state employee needs to take action to remain covered in FY 2015/2016.

Here are your options during the 2015 Open Enrollment period:

  • Re-enroll in your current plan
  • Enroll in a new plan
  • Add or drop covered dependents
  • Sign up (or re-enroll) for a Flexible Spending Account
  • Get optional life insurance without having to provide evidence of insurability (EOI)
  • Discontinue State of Colorado coverage

Please remember that after May 14, 2015, you cannot make any changes to your benefits until next year.

The only exception would be if you have what’s called a qualifying life event like marriage, birth, or adoption. If you do not enroll in State of Colorado benefits, you will be dropped and you will not have coverage in FY 2015-16.

For more information go to Colorado.gov/dhr/benefits.



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JBC votes to reduce proposed health insurance premium hike

If you follow us on Facebook, you might have seen our post about the first big fight on behalf of state employees in the 2015 legislative session.

On Wednesday, the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) held a hearing on Common Policies and Figuresetting, where they considered a proposed $12.8 million health insurance premium increase for state workers.

The JBC voted unanimously to support state employees. The bipartisan committee voted to reduce the proposed health insurance premium hike by nearly 66%, saving state workers $8.4 million in FY 2015/2016. The budget won’t be finalized until late March after we receive the first quarter revenue forecast so we’ll continue to monitor the budget process and fight to hold this reduction.

This vote by the JBC shows that state workers have an effective voice in the legislature, no matter who controls the chambers.

We managed to get back over $8 million that was going to come straight out of state employee pockets.

The 2014 elections results were a potentially mixed bag for state workers and the truth is that elections have consequences. Still, we managed to get things done with support from both sides of the aisle, which means more in this legislative session than ever before.

political-action-volunteer-bannerIf you’re ready to join other politically active members next time we need a quick response to a legislative issue, become a Political Action Volunteer. 

Keep in mind that this vote is just one step in the budget process. We may have to utilize our Political Action Volunteers in the near future, so stay tuned for any forthcoming budget updates.

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Working on better healthcare options for Colorado state employees

This year, Colorado WINS members secured a 2.5% base-building increase for state workers. We also secured funds to cover any increases to medical premiums, so that our raise is not eaten away by rising healthcare costs. And for the past 6 months, Colorado WINS members have been at the table, working with management to improve healthcare options for state employees.

This is the last fiscal year for which the current healthcare providers are under contract. For FY 2015/16, through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process, the state will request applications form health insurance companies to provide state workers with coverage.

Beginning in October 2013, a group of Colorado WINS members attended three DPA-led meetings to set expectations for the RFP process. The RFP creates the parameters and application for health insurance companies that wish to potentially provide health care coverage to state employees. Colorado WINS members who participated in the meetings included Joe Rogers (Heath Care Policy and Financing, Denver), Pat Roybal (Adams State University, Alamosa) and Dawn Tripp (Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo).

From the beginning WINS members had 4 goals that would increase access and affordability of healthcare for Colorado state workers:

  • To increase the number of health insurance companies and insurance products available everywhere in Colorado, especially in the rural areas.
  • To increase the health insurance companies’ accountability to the State by increasing the amount of premium dollars tied to the quality of their services provided to their covered state employees.
  • To guarantee benefits were not reduced.
  • To guarantee members’ deductibles, coinsurance and copays did not increase and if they did increase they did so because benefits increased accordingly.

After the three meetings, a smaller group of DPA officials and WINS members met regularly for 2 full months to craft the RFP. In mid-January 2014 the RFP was released with a question or comment period for interested insurance companies.

The comment section is now closed and the state is reviewing submitted proposals. The final committee, of which WINS is a member, will make final recommendations to the DPA Executive Director on May 15 and a decision is expected not long after.

WINS members have been at the table, working to provide better healthcare options for all of Colorado’s state workers. This means that as the RFP process comes to an end you should have access to better, more affordable care, no matter where you live in the state. 

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Statewide wellness program kicks off July 1

wellness-teaseThe State of Colorado Employee Wellness Program will kick off next Monday, July 1, with health-oriented events around the state.

The main kickoff event will take place on the East Steps of Capitol in Denver at 11 a.m., with short speeches by Governor John Hickenlooper, DPA Director Kathy Nesbitt and WINS Executive Director Scott Wasserman. The event will also include a mini health fair and lunch. State employees are encouraged to attend the kickoff event during their lunch break.

The wellness program encourages state employees to live healthier lifestyles by offering challenges and incentivizing behavior changes with a monthly premium rebate. In addition to creating healthier workplaces, the program will hopefully lead to lower overall healthcare costs.

Also on Monday, you can expect volunteers handing out organic fruit at various departments. There will also likely be events at other facilities throughout the state during the month of July.

Colorado WINS Healthcare Representatives have been working with DPA as part of the Global Partnership Track to shape the wellness program so that it includes:

  • Meaningful financial incentive for voluntary participation
  • Easy-to-understand requirements to receive rebates
  • Valuable role for employees in decision-making process

“It has been a wonderful experience and opportunity for DPA […] to work with members of Colorado WINS throughout the state. We have had participants from both Higher Education and HCPF, just to name a few,” said Kathy Nesbitt during a recent Colorado WINS Tele Town Hall. “Regardless of whether or not you use the state benefit program, all employees will be able to go online and be able to speak with health coaches, they’ll be able to customize their health challenges. […] What I think is best of all about this program, is that there are going to be prizes and rewards based on individual’s participation.”

To sign up for the state employee wellness program please visit colorado.gov/wellness and register.


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A WINS win for state employees

According to today’s Denver Post, state workers were among the winners from this year’s legislative session. We appreciate the nod. The Post failed, however, to give credit where credit is due: it was Colorado WINS members who insisted on having a voice in their future and leaving their mark on the 2013 session!

Colorado WINS was on the offensive for better working conditions, more respect in the workplace and better healthcare offerings.

During the 2013 legislative session, WINS members fought for and won:

  • union-difference2% raise
    The FY 2013-14 budget, which goes into effect on July 1, 2013, includes a 2% raise for Colorado state employees.
  • Merit Pay
    The budget also includes funding for Merit Pay, a system of base-building increases designed to move workers through salary ranges. Employees who score a 2 or 3 on their evaluations can receive between .6% and 2.4% raise.
  • Lower healthcare premiums
    While the original budget proposal covered only half of the projected premium increase, members secured millions in additional funding to fully cover the Health/Life/Dental premium increases.
  • End of 28-day system
    Passage of Senate Bill 210 ends the 28-day system for corrections officers, improves overtime pay and establishes work period and compensation practices (ARs) “through discussions with employees,” among other solutions.


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WINS Healthcare Initiatives

hc-cost-difference2Lower healthcare premiums

Starting July 1, your state employee out-of-pocket healthcare costs will decrease. In his November 2012 budget proposal, Gov. Hickenlooper allocated $186 million ($21M more than last year) for Health/Life/Dental (H/L/D) premiums. This was still not enough to cover the rising premium costs, but WINS members secured additional funding from the legislature to cover H/L/D premium increases and are working to further reduce the cost of healthcare. Colorado WINS was the only organization actively working to reduce healthcare costs in our state.

According to documents from the Dept. of Personnel and Administration, employees should actually see a slight decrease in healthcare premium costs.


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Pick the right healthcare plan for you

Healthcare terminology | Pick the right plan | Questions or Problems?

Colorado WINS members secured millions in additional funding to fully cover Health/Life/Dental premium increases.

Use the resources provided on this page to better understand your healthcare options and make the decision that’s right for you and your family.

Healthcare terminology

Here are a few widely used terms you should be familiar with. Our definitions are based on those provided by DPA in their April 2012 Healthline newsletter. You can find an archive of the Healthline newsletters here.

Co-insurance – A percentage of costs for covered services that the insurance company pays after a deductible is met.

Co-pay – A flat fee that is paid for health care services at the time service is provided. Co-payments are specific amounts, which is convenient in planning for the cost of care.

Deductible – An amount an individual must pay for covered health care expenses before insurance begins to cover costs. Deductibles in health insurance work the same as deductibles in auto or home owner’s insurance.

Out-of-pocket maximum – The maximum amount of money a person will pay for covered health claims, which is in addition to premium payments. These maximums are usually the sum of deductibles and co-insurance payments or the sum of all co-payments.

Pick the right plan

The plan with the lowest premium may not be the best plan for you. If you have chronic conditions or expect to see a doctor more than usual this year, you may want to consider other factors, besides just the monthly premium cost.


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Breaking News: Colorado extends CHP+ coverage to state employees

The statewide Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) has been expanded to allow health coverage for the underage and pregnant dependents of state employees (spouses, same-gender domestic partners and children of employees). Employee dependents (children and pregnant women) who are not covered by the state or another employer’s plan may qualify for the coverage.

CHP+ rules require a three-month waiting period without insurance coverage for all dependents eligible for coverage. Because of IRS regulations, employees with dependents currently covered cannot drop or cancel their coverage in order to qualify for CHP+. The dependents of state employees must also meet all other CHP+ eligibility criteria.


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WINS Healthcare Representatives continue talks with DPA

WINS Healthcare Representatives and a State Patrol Association (ACSPP) representative met again with senior DPA officials on Monday, January 14 to discuss healthcare for state employees.

The dominant topic was developing a Wellness program for employees, a continuation of the discussion from the December meeting. Attendees heard a presentation from Jean Morningstar, President of AFT Local 3837 in Connecticut, about their “Health Enhancement Program.” Staff from CDPHE also presented on their worksite Employee Wellness program and Obesity Integration Project.

There was some discussion on incentives to participate in a program and what it would take to encourage employees to change behaviors and be healthier.

Colorado WINS shared these core values that drive us in designing a Wellness program: (more…)

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