Ensuring access to quality, affordable health insurance
Insurance coverage improves financial security, health status, mental health, and access to health care, and decreases infant, child, and adult mortality rates. 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. In order to allow children and families to thrive, health insurance coverage needs to be not only available, but also affordable, continuous, equitable, and high quality. It must provide coverage for behavioral and oral health care in addition to physical care.
The uninsured rate for Colorado kids plummeted from 2008 to 2016, but progress has stalled in recent years. In 2018, 4.6 percent of Colorado children went without health insurance. Much of the success Colorado has seen in the plummeting uninsured rate has been due to increased access to public health insurance programs like Medicaid and the Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+). From 2008 to 2017, the percent of Colorado kids covered by Medicaid at some point in the year increased from 26 percent to 44 percent. At its peak, CHP+ covered 11 percent of kids at some point during the year. Together, the programs insured a significant portion of Colorado children.
Recent data indicate that the percent of kids without health insurance may even be increasing among some groups, including Hispanic/Latino children, perhaps partially in response to anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies enacted at the federal level. The latest estimates also indicate that child enrollment in Medicaid and CHP+ appears to be declining. State data show that between fiscal years 2017-18 and 2018-19, enrollment in Medicaid and CHP+ fell by more than 21,000 children or 1.7 percent overall.
The Children’s Campaign leads efforts to improve child wellbeing through health insurance coverage through the All Kids Covered Coalition.
Recent Policy Successes
Senate Bill 20-215, Health Care Affordability Fund, allows Colorado to pick up a federal fee on health insurance providers set to expire at the end of 2020 in order to reduce premiums, increase tax credits for insurance subsidies and cover people left out of the system – including Coloradans without proper documentation.
House Bill 19-1038, Dental Services for Pregnant Women on Child Health Plan Plus, provides dental insurance for the 900 pregnant Coloradans each year who use Colorado’s Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) for their health insurance.
Expansion of Medicaid coverage for former foster youth
Federal reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program