According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 524,000 Coloradans and 10 million Americans have lost their Medicaid coverage nationwide since the end of the Public Health Emergency in May 2023. The loss of coverage primarily stems from the end of Continuous Eligibility for Medicaid, which allowed people to maintain health coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many thousands of these individuals are the most vulnerable and working-class families of our mountain communities who feel the strain of juggling their health needs with the high cost of housing, childcare, food, transportation, and other essentials. Unfortunately, seeking medical care gets edged out by other competing priorities.    

Among our patients, many of the individuals and families who have lost Medicaid coverage remain uninsured, as they have failed to secure other coverage, which could consist of employer-sponsored insurance or coverage purchased on Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s insurance marketplace. Colorado has communicated the changing policy landscape more effectively than many states, yet we believe that many of the individuals and families who have lost Medicaid coverage may not realize their insurance has expired. An April 2024 JAMA Survey indicated that many people who were enrolled in Medicaid during the pandemic did not realize their coverage had continued, we believe the same is probably true of people’s information of their Medicaid termination.  

Given the region’s high cost of living, the trend of not having insurance coverage is exacerbated in Colorado’s mountain and resort communities. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, County Health Rankings & Road Maps, 2023, the rate of uninsured individuals in our mountain region is 15%, versus Colorado’s rate of 10%. In Eagle, Garfield, and Pitkin counties, Mountain Family Health Centers is the primary source of care for the area’s uninsured patients; 46% of Mountain Family’s patients are now uninsured, an increase from 40% during the pandemic. 

Mountain Family Health Centers works to ease this challenge through two primary strategies. Mountain Family and other Community Health Centers exist to increase access to crucial primary care by reducing barriers such as cost, lack of insurance, distance, and language for patients. Mountain Family is committed to improving the health of our communities in the Colorado, Eagle, and Roaring Fork River Valleys by providing high-quality, affordable primary care, behavioral health, and dental care. These services are provided to all within our community regardless of one’s insurance status or ability to pay.   

In addition to providing high-quality integrated care, Mountain Family Health Centers also dedicates resources to supporting our patients in navigating the healthcare system. One of the primary ways Mountain Family does this is through outreach and enrollment. Our dedicated team helps to connect patients with potential coverage options, which in Colorado include:   

  • Medicaid/CHP+ A State/Federal partnership that provides coverage to Coloradans with incomes below 133% (Medicaid) or Colorado kids in families with incomes below 260% (CHP+).  
  • Connect for Health Colorado Colrado’s insurance coverage marketplace also connects individuals and families to insurance subsidies determined by income and family size.  
  • Omni-Salud Provides coverage options via Connect for Health Colorado for Coloradans without documentation.   
  • Cover-All Coloradans (coming in January 2025) Provides coverage for pregnant Coloradans and children, up to 260% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), regardless of documentation status.  

Mountain Family’s Outreach and Enrollment team works directly with patients to identify the best option for their circumstances, regardless of their immigration status. For those patients who are still unable to access health insurance coverage, Mountain Family provides a Sliding Fee Discount Program. This program offers healthcare discounts for patients earning up to 400% of the FPL. Contact Mountain Family at 833-273-6627 or email EnrollmentHelp@mountainfamily.org with questions about insurance enrollment or our financial assistance programs. To learn more about payment and insurance options, healthcare services offered, and our locations visit MountainFamily.org.