by Matthew Valeta, Health Policy Analyst
As of January 31st, over 187,000 Coloradans have already found affordable health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado and Colorado’s Medicaid program. Colorado’s General Assembly and Governor Hickenlooper were wise to take advantage of the opportunity to create a state based marketplace and expand Medicaid.
Before health care reform approximately 740,862 Coloradans were uninsured according to the Colorado Health Institute. The overwhelming number 1 reason: cost. Now individuals and families across Colorado are finding access to affordable health insurance.
- Craig is a student who got insured for just $59 a month thanks to Connect for Health Colorado’s financial assistance.
- This couple in Flagler, Colorado are saving over $1,000 a month through Connect for Health Colorado.
- Patrick qualifies for Medicaid while he pursues a career change.
Already Medicaid has signed up 117,607 of the projected 160,000 newly eligible Coloradans for free and reduced cost health insurance. This expansion has been especially great for Colorado young adults. 42.7% of Colorado’s new Medicaid enrollees are under the age of 34. 28.7% of young adults under 30 were uninsured, by far the largest uninsured population before expansion.
Connect for Health Colorado has already signed up over 70,000 individuals. And, individuals who qualify for financial assistance are on average getting a $248 month in financial assistance to reduce the cost of their health insurance. Thousands more Coloradans are expected to enroll through Connect for Health Colorado before the deadline on March 31st.
Yesterday, the House State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee defeated another attempt to rollback the progress Colorado has made to expand access to affordable health care. HB14-1106 would have provided a tax deduction to Coloradans that did NOT purchase health insurance. Legislation that discourages signing up for health insurance is a dangerous idea that promotes the choice of exposing oneself to the financial risk of being uninsured. This is directly opposed to our state’s commitment to help Coloradans get the care that they need when they need it.
Connect for Health Colorado and Medicaid are providing relief to families trapped without health insurance and the opportunity for savings for families that already had insurance. Tens of thousands of previously uninsured people no longer have to worry about the financial burden that a single night in the hospital could cost them.
Thanks to Obamacare, Colorado is moving much closer to the common sense goal of all Coloradans having access to the care they need when they need it.