Survey: Cost, loss of job top reasons for not having health insurance

Four of five uninsured residents of Colorado say they don’t have health insurance because it costs too much, according to a report released Thursday by the nonprofit Colorado Health Institute.

“Flying Solo: Why Uninsured Coloradans Go Without Health Insurance ” is based on data from the Colorado Health Access Survey.

The report, written by research analyst Natalie Triedman, comes as Colorado prepares for the second open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act beginning Nov.15 and running through Feb. 15.

About 741,000 Coloradans did not have health insurance in 2013 , the most current number the institute has, said spokeswoman Deb Goeken. Colorado has a population of about 5.2 million people.

The biggest barrier, by far, is cost, the report said. The second-biggest reason for not having health insurance is losing a job or changing employers.

The most dramatic change in reasons cited for not having health insurance came from uninsured Coloradans who said they don’t need health insurance. The percentage more than doubled between 2009 and 2013, increasing from 11.1 percent to 24.9 percent, the biggest shift among the reasons cited. Triedman speculated that this could reflect a number of factors, including objections to “Obamacare” and its individual mandate, to public attitudes toward the health-care system as well as gender, race and age differences.

The survey was funded by The Colorado Trust. It is fielded, analyzed and managed by the Colorado Health Institute. It next survey will be fielded in February, with 2015 results available by the summer.

The 12-page report can be found here.