Today, the Colorado Health Institute and the Colorado Trust released their Colorado Health Access Survey for 2013. The survey provides Coloradans with a snapshot of the state's health insurance coverage and, by extension, the ability of state residents to have ready access to health care.
On the positive side, the percentage of Coloradans without insurance coverage has decreased by 1.5 percentage points since 2011. Yet the number of uninsured remains too high – 14.3 percent of the population. That means one in seven Coloradans, or 741,000, were uninsured in 2013. Here are some other findings:
- Four counties in northwest Colorado have the highest rate without insurance (24.8 percent), while more affluent Douglas County has the lowest (5.4 percent).
- Four out of five uninsured Coloradans have been without insurance coverage for more than a year.
- Due to the high cost of health care, 12.3 percent of Coloradans avoid seeing a doctor and 11.2 percent do not fill drug prescriptions.
- Almost 8 percent of Coloradans report that they needed mental health or counseling services but did not receive that care, largely due to cost.
- Twenty-five percent of all young adults and 38.6 percent of Hispanic Coloradans remain uninsured.
Even though the state economy is improving, for many workers it's not improving fast enough. Employer-sponsored health insurance coverage has not returned to levels seen before the downturn. In 2013, the rate was at 59 percent, well below the 63.7 percent level of 2009.
The Colorado Health Access Survey provides critical information not only for policy makers and health care providers, but also for average Coloradans. Without information like this, the problems highlighted in the survey cannot be addressed or ultimately improved.
– Bob Semro