Children and pregnant people with undocumented immigration status in low-income families are currently shut out of affordable — and necessary — health insurance plans under the Colorado Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) and Medicaid.
Our mountain communities have long been the most expensive regions to get health insurance in Colorado. This year, for example, while consumers buying individual plans on the statewide health exchange saw an average premium increase of 1.1% compared to 2021, residents of Garfield, Pitkin, Eagle, Summit and Lake counties saw increases ranging from 4.3% to 10.4%. And, according to the 2021 Colorado Health Access Survey:
The I-70 mountain corridor had the highest rate of uninsured residents in the state.
Hispanic/Latino Coloradans were more likely to be uninsured (with the rate jumping from 10.1% in 2019 to 14.4% last year) even as the state rate declined from 7.9% in 2019 to 7.5% last year; and
Latinas are three times more likely to be uninsured than non-Hispanics in Colorado, and Latino and Latina children are twice as likely to be uninsured.
Nearly 6 in 10 Latino adults surveyed as part of our 2021 Colorado Latino Policy Agenda supported expanding health insurance access in Colorado, including for undocumented immigrants. That number jumped to 9 in 10 when we surveyed Latino leaders.
Lawmakers have the opportunity to further expand access thanks, in no small part, to our partners from Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights. Their leadership on Senate Bill 9 in 2021 created a path to allow undocumented people to receive reproductive health services through Medicaid.
Studies show that children born to Medicaid-covered parents have healthier birth weights, greater health care utilization later in childhood, and a lower risk of infant mortality than babies born to those who are uninsured. Medicaid coverage of pregnant people has been demonstrated to be pivotal for the long-term educational success of their children.
Put another way: When we invest in the well-being of parents and children, we invest in the well-being of Colorado.
Learn more about our policy work at www.vocesunidasaction.org/policy.