CCHI: “Expanding Medicaid coverage has been a great investment across the state”
DENVER – A new study from Georgetown University and University of North Carolina found that Colorado led the nation in reducing the uninsured rate for low-income adults living in rural areas and small towns. The uninsured rate for these rural Colorado residents dropped by 29 percentage points between 2009 and 2016, bringing their uninsured rate down from 42 percent to 13 percent.
“Colorado’s decision to expand Medicaid coverage to more low-income working families has proven to be a great investment across the state but especially for Coloradans in rural areas and small towns where health coverage options are limited,” said Adam Fox, director of strategic engagement for the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative. “The uninsured rate in our metro areas for this population dropped substantially too—from 29 to 11 percent in the same time frame—but the rural areas are benefiting most.”
The study documents how states that accepted Medicaid expansion saw the rates of uninsured low-income adults dropped by an average of 19 percentage points in rural areas and small towns. In non-expansion states, the average was just 5 percentage points.
“Improved coverage rates typically translate to a more stable health care system and help rural areas and small towns maintain availability of health care providers in areas where shortages are all too common, said Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families and an author of the report. “Access to rural health providers is especially important to women of child-bearing age and those with chronic conditions such as asthma. ”
The full report is available at: ccf.georgetown.edu along with interactive maps and county-level data.
Colorado Consumer Health Initiative represents 45+ Colorado health organizations with more than 500,000 health care consumer members, advocating for high-quality, affordable, and equitable health care for all Coloradans.