Colorado Medicaid History and Facts

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Initial Medicaid Implementation: Colorado initially established its Medicaid program in 1969. Colorado has seen significant growth in economic development and growth in the state government over the first thirty years of their Medicaid program. Similarly, the legislature had begun to professionalize during the later half of the 20th century with it moving from a biannual legislature to an annual legislature.

Key Medicaid Political Issues: Colorado was an early adopter in providing home and community-based services, beginning this program in 1985. The state’s participation with managed care with participation increasing and decreasing over time. During the economic downturn in the early 2000’s the state temporarily eliminated coverage for certain pregnant women and put enrollment for their children’s health care plan on hold. The state also attempted to eliminate coverage for lawfully present immigrants but the state ultimately continued the funding. The state funds some pregnancy services through tobacco taxes.

Medicaid Expansion Implementation: Colorado was one of several states to accept the option to expand Medicaid eligibility to childless adults prior to the Medicaid expansion. Beginning in 2012, those making less than about $1,089 became eligible for Medicaid. The state has explored legislative attempts to expand coverage through a Medicaid buy-in proposal as well as reduce enrollment through work requirements. The work requirement proposal failed in committee and the Medicaid buy-in proposal has not advanced.

General facts about Colorado Medicaid:

Medicaid program name: Health First Colorado

CHIP Program name: Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+)

Separate or combined CHIP: Combination

Medicaid Enrollment: 1.4 million (estimate 2017)

Total Medicaid Spending: $7.9 billion (FY 2016 estimate)

Share of total population covered by Medicaid: 19%

Share of Children covered by Medicaid: 40% (estimate)

Share of Medicaid that is Children and Adults: 80%

Share of Spending on Elderly and people with disabilities: 59%

Share of Nursing Facility Residents covered by Medicaid: 60% (estimate)

FMAP: 50%

Expansion state: Yes

Number of people in expansion: 425,500 (estimate)

Work Requirement: No


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