Dear Editor:

I just signed up for health insurance! For the first time since moving to this country 13 years ago, my husband and I have health insurance with premiums and deductibles we can afford. No more living without health insurance, in fear of being injured or becoming ill (well, at least as of January 2014).

Despite the national media’s reporting exclusively on problems with the Affordable Care Act, hundreds of thousands of people are signing up for health care, many for the first time. I am one of those people. The website that has been set up in Colorado,, is working just fine! The process is fairly straightforward, and you no longer have to worry about being denied coverage for a pre-existing condition, such as being female or having had a sinus infection three years ago.

It took me about two or three hours over a few weeks to complete the whole process of completing the application, shopping and enrolling in a plan. First, I set up an account. The next step is to complete an application for state benefits, even though I was fairly certain I would not qualify. Once I submitted this application, I had to wait about 30 days to be denied state benefits. Some people have a shorter waiting time on the state application, with the maximum waiting time being 45 days. As soon as I was denied state benefits, I could complete the application through the health care exchange and then shop for a plan. Whenever I called the Connect For Health Colorado or the State of Colorado PEAK (Program Eligibility and Application Kit) phone number, I was able to speak with a friendly and knowledgeable live person who answered all my questions.

If you need help completing the application or have any questions, there is someone in Pagosa Springs who can help you. Renee Burch is the health coverage guide at San Juan Basin Health Department. You can reach Renee at 264-2409, Ext. 203, or e-mail her at Even though the national news headlines may not be telling you so, you can enroll in health care in Colorado.

Lisa Jensen

This story was posted on November 21, 2013.