Jessica Fox Last Updated On: August 14, 2023

What to Know When Shopping for Health Insurance in Colorado

Colorado is a state known for the Rocky Mountains, legal marijuana, and its stunning wilderness. The state is also home to over 5.5 million Americans, and every one of those residents deserves robust health insurance to protect them from having to pay out of pocket for medical expenses.

For instance, if you go whitewater rafting on the Colorado River and get hurt, no sweat: as long as you have health insurance, you don’t have to worry about how to pay the emergency room bill—it’s covered! 

Your biggest challenge isn’t scaling mountains or whisking down a winding river, it’s determining the best health insurance for you! So, if you’re ready to start exploring your health insurance options in Colorado, read on, and we’ll discuss everything you need to know.

Free Health Insurance Comparison - Save up to 30%

No junk mail. No spam calls. Free quotes.

No Signup required

Table of Contents

The Best Health Insurance in Colorado

One of the biggest hurdles to accessing health insurance is its cost. According to the Colorado Division of Insurance, between 2008 and 2017, health insurance rates went up 50%. Since then, many new laws have been passed to contain and reduce the cost of health insurance in Colorado.

So what can you do? The first step is to shop around for the most affordable health insurance in Colorado. This means collecting various quotes from different insurance providers, as every insurance company uses different calculations to set health insurance premiums, so your rates will naturally differ between insurers.

Are you ready to start shopping for health insurance in Colorado? Start by getting access to free quotes or keep reading for more info.

Average Cost of Health Insurance in Colorado

The average cost for health insurance premiums in Colorado varies depending on your personal profile and your coverage package (e.g., Bronze, Silver, or Gold), but the average monthly premium is between $300-$450.

Unfortunately, like inflation, the cost of health insurance in Colorado from 2022-2023 has increased by 10-20%, depending on which coverage package you purchase. It’s more important than ever that you do your health insurance homework by shopping around for the most affordable health insurance in the state. 

Free Health Insurance Comparison - Save up to 30%

No junk mail. No spam calls. Free quotes.

No Signup required

The Top Health Insurance Companies in Colorado

Every state has its insurance company frontrunners; in Colorado, there are a few insurers you should consider grabbing a quote from, as one of them may be your perfect health insurance match.  These are some of the top-rated health insurance companies in Colorado:
  • Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield: Offers very affordable silver premiums.
  • Denver Health Medical Plan Elevate: Great for self-employed individuals.
  • Kaiser Permanente: A non-profit with great customer service.
  • Rocky Mountain Health Plans: An HMO-based non-profit for small businesses.
Getting multiple quotes from different providers can help you save and get the best coverage possible.

Types of Health Insurance in Colorado

When it comes to selecting the right health insurance plan for you, the choices are endless. You start with the type of health insurance you buy, and then you pick the best coverage option. 

If you call the Rockies Mountains home, these are the types of health insurance available to you: 

  • Health Maintenance Organization (HMO): Colorado health insurance offers predominantly HMO plans. These plans are more affordable than other types, but you’re limited to in-network providers. You will also need a primary care provider and a referral to visit a specialist.
  • Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO): EPOs may require you to have a primary care provider, and you can access any in-network provider. Although, if it’s a medical emergency, you can access out-of-network coverage. You also don’t need a referral to see a specialist.

Keep reading for more private insurance options. 

Private Individual Health Insurance Plans in Colorado

If you’re looking into purchasing private health insurance, you’ll have a choice of a metallic tier: Catastrophic, Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Each tier corresponds to a different coverage level and premium.
  • Catastrophic: This coverage is for young adults under the age of 30 who are healthy and want health insurance but cannot afford to pay high premiums. Here are some policy highlights:
    • Low monthly premiums
    • High deductibles
    • You cannot use financial help with catastrophic plans
    • It covers essential health benefits and some preventative services
    • It covers you for 3 doctor visits a year
  • Bronze: Bronze coverage offers affordable rates but comes with higher premiums. These are the highlights of bronze health insurance:
    • Lowest monthly premiums
    • The policy pays 60% while you pay 40% of your medical treatment
    • High deductibles
    • High out-of-pocket expenses if you need medical treatment
    • There is also an expanded bronze package that offers all the same benefits with slightly higher premiums, but the policy pays for 65% of your medical treatments
  • Silver: Silver policies are the most popular coverage option. Here are some features of silver policies:
    • Moderate monthly premiums
    • Moderate deductibles
    • Financial assistance or “cost-sharing” is available with silver plans for extra savings
    • Policies pay 70%, while you pay 30% of your medical treatment costs
  • Gold: Gold health insurance plans are great for policyholders that need routine medical treatment. These are the highlights of gold health insurance coverage:
    • High monthly premiums
    • Lowest deductible amounts
    • Your plan covers 80%, while you pay 20% of your medical costs
Everyone wants the highest coverage possible, but unfortunately, the coverage you choose is often dictated by cost. Next, we’ll explore the average cost of health insurance in Colorado to help you understand your options.

Free Health Insurance Comparison - Save up to 30%

No junk mail. No spam calls. Free quotes.

No Signup required

The Cost of Health Insurance by Tier

Although the average cost of health insurance in Colorado is hard to pin down, we can help give you an idea of how much it will cost by tier for a 40-year-old.

Metallic TierAverage Monthly Cost
Extended Bronze$250

As you can see, the cost of Gold coverage in this example is more affordable than Silver coverage. However, it is not a rule that Gold will always be cheaper. Remember, insurance premiums are unique to every insurer, and rates depend on your personal profile (e.g., age, health). 

Making Health Insurance in Colorado More Affordable

Colorado is tackling the rising cost of health insurance by offering Health Savings Accounts (HSA) on the two cheapest metallic tiers: Bronze and Silver. 

HSA’s are for healthy people that don’t require regular doctor visits. In effect, you can contribute pre-tax money into a savings account that you can use for health care, or you can withdraw it, but you’ll pay taxes on it. 

Short-Term Health Insurance in Colorado

As of 2019, the state of Colorado no longer offers short-term health insurance policies. Legally, you can buy a short-term plan, but no insurance company in the state offers them. 

Other Health Insurance Options

There are several types of health insurance; you aren’t limited to just private health insurance. Qualifying individuals can take out a Medicare or Medicaid health insurance plan. 

Here’s more information on each policy:


For seniors over 65 years old or qualifying applicants, there is Medicare. Medicare is sold in “Parts” rather than tiers. Here’s an overview of Medicare’s four parts:

  • Part A: Plan A covers hospital visits.
  • Part B: Plan B covers doctor’s visits.
  • Part C: Part C or “Medicare Advantage” is offered through private insurance and combines Part A, Part B + supplemental coverage (e.g., dental, eye care, or prescription medication).
  • Part D: Plan D covers prescription medication.

You can choose which parts to enroll into, although if you’re getting Social Security, you’re automatically enrolled in Parts A and B at 65. 


Colorado is a Medicaid expansion state, meaning you qualify based on your income level; it must be below 138% below the federal poverty level. In addition, Medicaid is free or low cost, which means it’s the most affordable choice for health insurance if you qualify. 

Free Health Insurance Comparison - Save up to 30%

No junk mail. No spam calls. Free quotes.

No Signup required

When Is Open Enrollment?

If you’re eager to get health insurance in Colorado, you can enroll in private health insurance during open enrollment that runs from November 1st—January 15th. 

Keep in mind, you can enroll at other times of the year if you have a qualifying life event, like a divorce, birth, marriage, or more, that could cause you to need to change your insurance. 

What Health Insurance Will and Won’t Cover

Health insurance plans will tell you upfront if the medical treatment is elective or non-elective. Non-elective medical coverage is for maintaining optimal health, whereas elective care is services not required for maintaining optimal coverage. Non-elective services cover these ten essential health benefits:
  • Outpatient care
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Maternity and Newborn services
  • Services for mental health or substance abuse
  • Prescription medication (some)
  • Rehab and Habilitative care
  • Lab Services
  • Preventative, Wellness, Chronic condition treatment
  • Pediatric care
Electives are services not covered by health insurance:
  • Weight loss reduction surgery
  • Orthodontics
  • Medical trials
  • Some prescription medications
  • Cosmetic surgeries
Be sure to check your policy or ask your insurer if you’re unsure about your coverage, as you could be stuck footing the bill if a service isn’t covered. 

Final Thoughts on Health Insurance in Colorado

As a Coloradans, there’s nothing like breathing in that fresh Rocky Mountain air and exploring the wilderness. But, without proper health insurance, you risk paying out of pocket for medical expenses should something unforeseen happen. So, even though shopping for health insurance is not as exciting as watching a Colorado Avalanche hockey game, it’s necessary.

When exploring your health insurance options, start by accessing your needs. For example, if you’re over 65, you’ll need Medicare; if your income is 138% under the federal poverty line, you’ll need Medicaid. And for everyone else considering private health insurance, you’ll need to ask yourself a few additional questions.

  • How Much Can You Afford: If money is tight, the Expanded Bronze plan is a great option as it will cover 65% of your medical expenses, vs. a regular Bronze plan that only covers 60%. Plus, with Expanded Bronze HSA plans, you can add money into a savings account for medical bills or additional taxable money.
  • If You Want the Best Overall Coverage: For individuals that want 70% of their medical expenses covered and the option of “cost-sharing” subsidies, then Silver plans are your best bet.
  • If You Need More Medical Care: If you have a chronic condition or need to see a doctor more frequently, Gold plans are well worth the higher premium costs.

Whatever your situation, health insurance helps you maintain good overall health. So, if it’s time to look for health insurance, get access to free quotes here as your starting point.


Stay Up-to-Date
Subscribe to our newsletter and receive alerts, offers, education, and updates in your inbox.