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Colorado health care exchange official seeks bonus despite low signups

The head of Colorado's state health care exchange is asking for a year-end raise and bonus even though enrollment numbers are not meeting expectations.

Patty Fontneau is currently paid more than $190,000 a year, a salary that is supported by Colorado taxpayers. The board of directors for the exchange has yet to approve Fontneau's request, but they discussed it in October, the Denver Post reports.

"Given the poor performance for the first two months of enrollments, I think it's incredibly audacious for the executive director to request a salary increase," Connect for Health Colorado board member Ellen Daehnick said.

Connect for Health Colorado spokeswoman Myung Oak Kim said no decision has been made on whether the full board of the exchange, or a three-member executive committee will vote on the salary request, but that every member has been invited to the discussions.

The raise request was first reported by the University of Colorado publication Solutions.

Fontneau received a $5,000 raise in 2012. According to Connect for Health Colorado, she is eligible for annual bonuses of up to 10 percent and salary increases of 3 percent.

Enrollment figures through the exchange so far are short of expectations. Officials' high-end projection for how many people would enroll in an insurance plan through December was more than 61,000. But earlier this week, officials said just under 10,000 people had bought private health insurance plan.
The low-end projection for enrollments through December is 22,215.

Fontneau's salary is higher than the exchange's chief operating officer and chief financial officer, both of whom earn $164,800.

Colorado is one of 17 states that set up a health insurance exchange. Federal grants are supporting the exchange now, but the system is supposed to be self-sustaining by 2016. However, that's contingent in part by healthy enrollment figures.