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Updating the Numbers: A Look Behind the Scenes

CHI has updated its 2008 and 2009 estimates of uninsured children and adults in Colorado who qualify for Medicaid or Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+). This is a glimpse into the process we took to revise our data.

First, it’s important to understand why this information is important. Studies have shown that having health insurance is associated with improved access to health care and better health outcomes. At CHI, it’s our mission to provide independent and impartial information that can be used to inform sound decision-making. An accurate snapshot of the number of uninsured children and adults, especially those who are eligible for Medicaid or CHP+, is essential.

Recent research published by the Pew Hispanic Center about the estimated number of undocumented immigrants across the nation, including Colorado, prompted a fresh look at our own estimates. (http://pewhispanic.org/reports/report.php?ReportID=133). Undocumented immigrants aren’t eligible for public health insurance, so revising those estimates required revising our estimates of uninsured children and adults eligible for Medicaid or CHP+ as well.

While the number of undocumented immigrants has remained more or less steady in the United States for the past several years at around 11 million, the number of undocumented immigrants in Colorado has fallen substantially, according to the Pew study. Colorado saw a drop from 240,000 in 2007 to 180,000 in 2010, according to Pew, joining Florida, New York, Virginia and the combined states of Arizona, Utah and Nevada with declining undocumented immigrant populations.

Based on that estimate, CHI calculated an average annual growth rate to obtain our revised estimated number of undocumented immigrants in Colorado for 2008 (218,054) and 2009 (198,116). While CHI’s previous estimate of undocumented immigrants in Colorado was somewhat low, we’ve learned that the overall number of undocumented immigrants in Colorado has been decreasing over the past 4 years. Our revised estimates offer the latest and best information available.

After calculating the new numbers, CHI updated these reports and documents.

  1. Colorado Children’s Health Insurance Status: 2011 update is a two-part publication that contains the estimates of children’s health insurance status in Colorado. The Fact Sheet provides an overview of eligible but not enrolled children and the Data Supplement provides detailed county-level estimates.
  2. Colorado Adults’ Health Insurance Status: 2011 update is a two-part publication that contains the estimates of adults’ health insurance status in Colorado. The Fact Sheet provides an overview of eligible but not enrolled parents and adults that will become eligible for public insurance after state and national health reform. The Data Supplement provides detailed county-level estimates.
  3. The CHI Data Center provides customized reports for health insurance status.
    1. Eligible but not enrolled children, ages 0-18
    2. Eligible but not enrolled adults, ages 19-64
    3. Uninsured children, ages 0-18, newly eligible for CHP+ under state health reform
    4. Uninsured adults, ages 19-64, newly eligible for Medicaid under state and national health reform
  4. The Regional Health Profiles provide data on the population, unemployment, health insurance status and other health related factors pertaining to residents in  21 regions around the state.

For details about the updates, CHI is hosting an informational webinar about these revisions on August 3, 2011, that will provide a comprehensive explanation as well as a question and answer session. Registration and information about the webinar is available here: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/449385576.

CHI is committed to providing accurate estimates using the most current methods available. We would be happy to discuss these updates or estimates with anyone who has questions. Please email info@coloradohealthinstitute.org with your questions and comments.