by Pam Zubeck
The Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance announced today that a statewide health insurance marketplace will create a customer service office in Colorado Springs, adding about 100 jobs and occupying about 25,000 square feet of space.
Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s health care exchange as required by the Affordable Care Act, will set up shop this summer in Colorado Springs in preparation for giving assistance to people via telephone. The exchange operates online.
With little fanfare, the Business Alliance issued this press release:
"The new Customer Service Center will be a significant part of our network of support for individuals, families and small businesses in Colorado," said Patty Fontneau, ED/CEO of Connect for Health Colorado. "We are excited to support the Colorado Springs economy and to partner with Colorado Springs businesses and organizations to reach our mission of increasing access, affordability and choice for individuals and small employers looking for health insurance in Colorado."
Starting in October, Connect for Health Colorado will serve individuals, families and small employers who are looking for health insurance and will provide access to up-front financial assistance to eligible consumers to reduce costs. Customers will shop through a website and get expert help in person and over the phone from a network of customer service professionals, including Customer Service Center Representatives, Health Coverage Guides and certified health insurance agents and brokers. The marketplace is a public, non-profit entity that was established by Senate Bill 11-200, passed by the General Assembly in 2011. More information is available at www.connectforhealthco.com.
In addition to the phone support provided by the Colorado Springs site, several area organizations will provide in-person assistance to customers as part of a new program called the Connect for Health Colorado Assistance Network. Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments and Peak Vista Community Health Centers in Colorado Springs, Tri-Lakes Cares in Monument, and the Healthy Communities initiative at Memorial Hospital will serve as Assistance Sites for individuals, families and small employers in the region. These organizations will conduct outreach in late summer to educate residents about the new marketplace and will deploy Health Coverage Guides to provide in-person assistance in October.
The Customer Service Center site was chosen after a statewide evaluation of 31 sites, including 21 site visits across the state. The evaluation considered cost, age and condition of the buildings, access to mass transit, a strong labor pool and services, opportunity for expansion and safety. The site in central Colorado Springs met all requirements and provided excellent value and flexibility.
"We are delighted that Colorado Springs has been selected as the location for this important center which will be supporting and serving citizens all across the state of Colorado for their health benefit needs," said Joe Raso, President and CEO of the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance. "Colorado Springs is recognized as a hub for customer support and back office operations for key corporate employers, and our region's intensified focus on the healthcare industry makes this center a perfect fit for our community."
The Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance, the leading business development organization in Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region, has worked with the Connect for Health Colorado team on the project since late 2012 and will continue to assist them as they transition into the community with expedited permitting, identifying training funds available for employees, addressing workforce needs, etc.
Information about how to apply for jobs for the Customer Service Center will be available here by June 17, 2013.