December 1, 2023

Uninsured rate in Colorado declines to lowest ever

DENVER — Fewer Coloradans are uninsured than ever before, according to a new report from the Colorado Health Institute.

The institute, which conducts an annual survey of 10,000 households, found that the uninsured rate dropped to 4.6% in 2023 after being at 6.5% since 2015. The new rate is the lowest ever since the institute began gathering the information in 2009.

Gains in coverage came through Health First Colorado, the state’s Medicaid program, the institute said. The state did not disenroll people from Medicaid during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“We were happy to see such a steep drop in Colorado’s uninsured rate. Health insurance is essential to access health care,” Sara Schmitt, president and CEO of CHI, said in a written statement. “The pandemic was a terrible experience, but these results show that smart, decisive policy choices can make a real difference in people’s lives.”

The health institute also released findings today on three other topics:

Mental health. More than one in four people aged 5 and up (26.2%) reported poor mental health in 2023, an all-time high but statistically unchanged from 2021. As mental health worsened, so did access to care, the institute said. Some 880,000 Coloradans, or 17%, said they could not get the mental health care they needed in 2023, most often because they could not get an appointment.

Climate change. Nearly 2 million Coloradans said climate change had an impact on their or their families’ health in the past year. The most common effects this group cited were respiratory trouble (39.4%) and increased problems with mental health or substance use (19.8%).

 Housing instability. In 2023, 7.1% of Coloradans worried they would not have a place to live in the next two months. The rate was up from 5.6% in 2021, and it represents 390,000 Coloradans who worried about having a place to live in 2023. Renters were seven times as likely to report housing instability as homeowners.

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