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Informing Policy. Advancing Health.

An Updated Profile of Colorado’s Uninsured Adults

Question: Which group of Coloradans is twice as likely to be uninsured as the average adult in the state?

Answer: Adults below the federal poverty level who don’t have dependent children.

This information and much more is included in an updated analysis of Colorado’s uninsured adults released today by CHI.

About one in five Colorado adults between the ages of 19 and 64 did not have health insurance in 2010. Adults represent the vast majority—about 83 percent—of Colorado’s uninsured. Digging deeper, CHI finds wide variation within that group of uninsured adults. Findings in “Health Insurance Status of Colorado Adults” include:

  • About 640,000 adults were uninsured in 2010, up from about 623,000 in 2008.
  • The uninsured rate for adults varies dramatically by region - from a low of seven percent in Douglas County to a high of 27 percent in Adams County.
  • Forty percent of the uninsured adults have annual incomes below 133 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), or about $29,000 for a family of four.
  • Sixty-three percent of uninsured adults are employed.

Adults without dependent children (AwDCs) with incomes at or below the FPL, about $11,000 for an individual, have an uninsured rate of 41 percent, twice that of the average adult in the state. Within this group, CHI estimates that:

  • Six in 10 (about 94,000) are male.  In comparison, about 50 percent of Colorado’s adult population is male.
  • The vast majority are single.
  • More than a third are employed, either full- or part-time.

There are a number of reasons for the high level of adults without health insurance.

Although most uninsured adults are employed, they may not be offered employer-sponsored coverage, the most common means through which Coloradans obtain coverage.

And while public insurance programs—Medicaid, Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) and Medicare—cover about 26 percent of Colorado’s 5 million-plus residents of all ages, most adults between the ages of 19 and 64 are not eligible for this coverage.

A data supplement provided by CHI includes uninsured rates, the number of working age parents who are eligible but not enrolled in Medicaid and the number of adults expected to become eligible for Medicaid due to state and federal health reform by county.

The update on adult insurance rates follows the release this spring of a publication detailing the insurance status of children in Colorado. Find both publications on CHI’s web site under the key issue section for Health Coverage and the Uninsured.

This information is valuable to a number of health care groups across Colorado who are working to improve levels of insurance coverage and access to care for all, especially among the state’s most medically vulnerable residents.