Health insurance can be an investment in good health and financial security. Preventive services that are covered by insurance can detect problems early, before they become expensive or debilitating.
However, a sizable number of Coloradans say they don’t know how to get insurance, according to the Colorado Health Access Survey (CHAS). In 2013, more than 17 percent of uninsured Coloradans said they did not know how to get coverage – a three percentage point increase from 2009.
The knowledge gap is most pronounced in five health statistics regions –northwest Colorado, Pueblo County, and the metro-area counties of Jefferson, Adams and Arapahoe. In each region, more than 20 percent of uninsured residents do not know how to become insured.
That said, a lack of knowledge about insurance does not necessarily lead to a lower rate of coverage.
In Pueblo County, for example, more than a fifth of the uninsured do not know how to get insurance, the CHAS found. Still, Pueblo has one of the lowest uninsured rates in the state, in part due to the large number of people with Medicaid coverage. On the flip side, almost 23 percent of people in the mountain communities of health statistics region 10 are uninsured. Yet, less than five percent of the uninsured population does not know how to get health insurance.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was fully implemented this year, bringing with it the Connect for Health Colorado online marketplace as well as teams of health insurance navigators who teach people how to get insurance. The 2015 CHAS is set to be released next summer and will help measure whether the ACA is succeeding at educating people about their health insurance options.