Report: The Affordable Care Act is Helping Cover Colorado Kids

National report highlights Colorado’s historic low of uninsured children

Contact: Tara Manthey
Title: Communications Director
Phone: (720) 256-1312
Email: tara@coloradokids.org

Report: The Affordable Care Act is Helping Cover Colorado Kids

National report highlights Colorado’s historic low of uninsured children

EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE AT

10/28/15 12:01 am MT

allkidscoveredThe Affordable Care Act has helped cut the number of uninsured children in Colorado from over 8 percent to only 5.6 percent, an historic low for the state, according to a new report released by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families and the Colorado All Kids Covered Coalition. Colorado, which for many years had been among a dozen states with the highest rates of uninsured kids, is now pulling ahead; the state saw the second-largest percentage point decline in children’s uninsurance rates in 2014.

Children’s advocates in Colorado and researchers at Georgetown University attribute the improvements in children’s coverage rates to the success of the Colorado Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) programs. Major provisions of the Affordable Care Act went into effect between 2013 and 2014, which also contributed to the gains in coverage for Colorado children. Many Colorado children experienced a “welcome mat effect” as parents enrolled their children in coverage as they were signing up for newly available coverage. In 2014, Colorado accepted federal funding to extend the program to adults and established its own, Colorado-based health insurance marketplace offering discounts on health insurance to parents with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid.

“Improvements in health care coverage for children is not only good for Colorado families, it’s good for the state’s schools and economy,” said Joan Alker, director of the Georgetown University center. “When children have health care coverage, they are able to get preventive care to stay healthy so they can show up for school ready to learn. “

Another recent study by the Colorado Health Institute, the Colorado Health Access Survey (CHAS), also pointed to Colorado’s success in reducing the number of children in the state without insurance. The CHAS, which relies on a smaller sample size and was conducted in the first half of 2015, found that as few as 2.5 percent of Colorado kids are without insurance. State surveys often reflect a lower percentage of uninsurance due to differences in survey design, while the ACS data better reflects Colorado’s progress in comparison to the rest of the country.

“All the data—both at the state and national level—points to Colorado’s recent success in getting more kids the health care coverage they need to thrive,” said Chris Watney, President and CEO of the Colorado Children’s Campaign, a member of the All Kids Covered Coalition. “While we’re proud of the gains we’ve made, we need to protect that progress and strengthen our state health care system so all kids in Colorado can get the care they need, when they need it. By continuing to improve Colorado Medicaid, CHP+, and the state’s new health insurance marketplace, we can work toward a future where every child in Colorado, at every income level and from every race and ethnicity, has access to affordable health coverage and high-quality, integrated health care.”

There are still about 70,000 uninsured children in Colorado. Many uninsured children are eligible for coverage but not enrolled. Families who would like to know if their children are eligible or would like help applying for coverage should visit https://www.colorado.gov/hcpf/how-to-apply.

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About Colorado Children's Campaign


All Kids Covered is a collaborative effort of more than 40 organizations throughout Colorado who are committed to helping kids reach their fullest potential. We work to make it easier for eligible children to enroll in public health insurance programs, improve the quality of services received and expand public programs to serve more kids. Learn more at: www.allkidscoveredcolorado.org

 

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Tara Manthey at (720) 256-1312 or email Tara at tara@coloradokids.org.