Monday, August 1, 2011

State of Working Colorado: Medicaid and CHP+ – Healthcare for the neediest

In recent years, Colorado has seen consistent and substantial caseload growth in Medicaid and the Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+), public health insurance programs that cover low-income parents, pregnant women, children and persons with disabilities. Enrollment growth in those programs accelerated during the 2007 recession and continues to well-outpace population growth. Half-way through fiscal year 2010-11, total Medicaid and CHP+ enrollment had grown by 27,000, with the programs serving a total of 624,000 Coloradans. As the effects of the recession reverberate, those programs continue to be crucial in providing health and security for vulnerable Coloradans.

In Colorado, Medicaid and CHP+ enrollment does not fully represent need. Many Coloradans are eligible but not enrolled (EBNE) in these programs. In 2008, 31 percent of eligible adults were not enrolled in Medicaid (26,000 EBNE adults). The same year, 29 percent of eligible children were not enrolled in either Medicaid or CHP+ (115,000 EBNE kids).38

Colorado’s sizeable eligible but not enrolled populations are partially a result of problems with the state’s system of administering medical assistance programs. The Colorado Benefits Management System (CBMS), the computer system used to administer many of Colorado’s assistance programs, is a major contributor to the problem. Introduced in the middle of the past decade, CBMS has consistently failed to deliver timely application processing, and has exhibited unreliable performance. Colorado needs to improve CBMS and its administration of assistance programs to ensure that eligible families get the help they need when they need it.
For more insights, including detailed policy recommendations for enhancing economic security for all Coloradans, check out the State of Working Colorado 2010.

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