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Report: CO On Right Track for Kids' Health Coverage

November 20, 2013

DENVER - Colorado is on a roll when it comes to gaining health coverage for more children.

The number of uninsured children in the state is decreasing, according to a report released today by Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families. While Medicaid coverage for children and the Children's Health Insurance Plan is getting much of the credit, the state also is doing its part by expanding Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, said Cody Belzley, vice president for health initiatives at the Colorado Children's Campaign.

"This progress is tremendously exciting, as we know kids with health insurance have better health outcomes," Belzley said, "and that's a critical piece to putting them on track for a successful life."

More than 100,000 children remain uninsured in Colorado. Part of that, Belzley said, can be attributed to the state's rural and Spanish-speaking populations, who may find it difficult to get the information they need to sign up for coverage. Eligible Coloradans can sign up through the state's health insurance marketplace at ConnectforhealthCO.com.

Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown Center, said states such as Colorado that have seen the most progress are those that have really worked on it.

"States that have done a really good job of streamlining their program, reducing the red tape, making families feel welcome - and have covered their parents - are going to have much lower rates of uninsured kids," she said.

Belzley said the state's decision to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act is expected to do even more to reduce the number of uninsured children.

"We're very optimistic that the good work put in place through health-reform efforts at the state level and the federal level will result in even more kids getting the health insurance coverage that they need," Belzley said.

A poll released along with the Georgetown report found that about nine out of 10 people believe all children in their state should have health coverage.

The report and poll are online at ccf.georgetown.edu.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - CO