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Pop-Up Stores Bolster Colorado's Health Insurance Shopping Season

Grace Hood

A new open enrollment period started for the state's health insurance exchange Nov. 15, and with that comes changes to how Connect For Health Colorado is reaching out to potential customers.

In addition to applying for an insurance policy online, Coloradans can now choose between three pop-up stores in Denver, Commerce City and Greeley. In the coming weeks, brick and mortar stores selling health insurance will come to Colorado Springs, Lafayette, Pueblo, Thornton and Grand Junction.

In 2013, Colorado saw just one pop-up office in Denver, but it was heralded as one of the state’s most successful enrollment tactics.

On this particular day at the recently opened Greeley location - located between a coffee shop and a Chinese restaurant - there was a slow trickle of activity. The hastily opened store had a bare-bones look: white walls and gray furniture populating several offices.

Health Reform Educator Lisa Joyner said it's a good idea for customers study the options before entering the store, but workers are trained to meet people where they're at.

"It is easier if they have an opportunity to look - we call it browse anonymously - at the health plan options so they have some sense in what they might be interested in," said Joyner. "If they have many questions and no answers, just come talk to us."

Open enrollment for 2015 health care plans is now underway through Feb. 15. The deadline to register for coverage starting Jan. 1, 2015 is Dec. 15. A complete list of walk-in enrollment centers can be found here, or you can sign up for insurance via the state's online exchange.

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