Georgetown University report finds child health coverage in Colorado improved during pandemic  

Contact: Jackie Zubrzycki
Title: Communications Director
Phone: 215-208-4693
Email: jackie@coloradokids.org

Georgetown University report finds child health coverage in Colorado improved during pandemic  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 7th, 2022

DENVER – Colorado is one of five states that saw the largest improvements in health insurance coverage for children between 2019 and 2021, according to a new report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families (CFF).   

The number of uninsured children in Colorado decreased from 73,000 to 61,000and the child uninsured rate improved from 5.5% to 4.6% between 2019 and 2021. These are critical gains after substantial coverage losses Colorado kids experienced between 2018 and 2019. 

The Colorado Children’s Campaign celebrates these improvements. Health insurance is fundamental to accessing necessary health care services and advancing family financial security. Insurance coverage is tied to lower mortality, and those with access to comprehensive coverage experience benefits in both physical and mental health. Additionally, kids with health insurance coverage are less likely to drop out of high school, more likely to graduate from college, and have higher incomes as adults.

However, the current requirement that keeps kids covered – the continuous coverage provision – is likely to end sometime in 2023. When it expires, states will begin the unprecedented task of redetermining eligibility for more than 80 million people enrolled in Medicaid.  

In Colorado, more than 200,000 kids are at risk of losing coverage. Three out of four of those kids are likely to remain eligible for the program but will lose coverage due to complex and burdensome administrative processes that have been paused since the early days of the pandemic. 

The Children’s Campaign calls for both state and federal policy changes to keep kids and other critical populations covered during this unstable period.   

“In the upcoming legislative session, we will pursue policies that help keep kids and other underserved populations – like people experiencing homelessness – covered for longer periods,” said Erin Miller, Vice President of Health Initiatives at the Colorado Children’s Campaign. “This is an opportunity to use what we have learned throughout the pandemic to make informed, comprehensive changes to our health coverage system, for the benefit of our kids and families.” 

“The improvement in the child uninsured rate has been a bright spot during the dark days of the pandemic,” said Joan Alker, Executive Director of the Georgetown University research center and lead author of the report. “This is welcome news for America’s children, but it may be short-lived as millions of eligible children will likely fall through the cracks and become uninsured in states that are inattentive when the federal continuous coverage protection expires.”

What to know

The Georgetown report places Colorado at 27th for its child uninsured rate. The overall rate improvement is a significant step toward expanded coverage for all Coloradans and highlights an important improvement in child health coverage compared to recent years.

While the child uninsured rates for American Indian/Alaska Native and Hispanic/Latino children declined overall, they remain significantly higher than those of their white counterparts. Continuous coverage and additional coverage protections are important tools for continuing to close coverage gaps for communities of color.

Colorado can take steps to keep kids covered continuously until their 6th birthday, ensure all kids over the age of 6 are covered for longer periods, and provide year-long coverage for other historically underserved populations. Accessing these pathways requires requesting permission from the federal government – and currently the only way to do that is through a lengthy and administratively burdensome waiver process. Federal policymakers have the immediate opportunity in year-end negotiations to reduce these administrative burdens, making it easier for states to get permission through State Plan Amendments before coverage expires.

The Colorado Children’s Campaign is committed to advancing policies that ensure all kids in our state have access to coverage that is continuous, affordable, and equitable 

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The full report is available here, and more in-depth state data is available on the center’s interactive child health report. The Center for Children and Families is a nonpartisan policy and research center based at Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy.  

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About Colorado Children's Campaign


The Colorado Children’s Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization committed since 1985 to realizing every chance for every child in Colorado. We advocate for the development and implementation of data-driven public policies that improve child well-being in health, education and early childhood. We do this by providing Coloradans with trusted data and research and organizing an extensive statewide network of dedicated child advocates. For more information, please visit www.coloradokids.org.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Jackie Zubrzycki at 215-208-4693 or email Jackie at jackie@coloradokids.org.