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Survey Data Reveal the Coloradans Most Likely to Become Marketplace Customers


Media Contact: Deborah Goeken, Colorado Health Institute
303-831-4200; [email protected]

DENVER, COLO.A picture is emerging of the Coloradans most likely to buy health insurance through the state’s new marketplace, based on data from the Colorado Health Access Survey (CHAS).

A paper released today by The Colorado Trust analyzes characteristics of the estimated 243,000 Coloradans between the ages of 19 and 64 who will be eligible for federal subsidies when they buy insurance on the Connect for Health Colorado marketplace.

The findings in Colorado’s Health Insurance Marketplace: A Profile of Likely Consumers provide a view of these history-making Coloradans, the first wave to buy insurance through the new marketplace.

Nearly half – 42 percent – are between 35 and 54. There is a nearly even breakdown between males and females. About two-thirds are white (67 percent) and nearly a quarter (23.8 percent) are Hispanic. About a third (34.5 percent) are high school graduates, with 16 percent having attained less than a high school degree.

Connect for Health Colorado is scheduled to go live October 1, when consumers can begin buying health insurance; the plans will become effective January 1. People with annual incomes between 138 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) will be eligible for subsidies to help offset the cost of insurance premiums.

The analysis also compares the group of likely customers to Coloradans at the same income levels who already have private insurance, meaning they are less likely to use the marketplace.

When comparing the subsidy-eligible customers to those with insurance, the report finds that the likely marketplace users are:

  • More likely to be Hispanic (24 percent versus 14 percent). They are more likely to speak a language other than English at home (18 percent versus 11 percent), and that language is most likely Spanish
  • Likely to be employed (71 percent), though less likely to be employed than their insured counterparts (71 percent versus 81 percent)
  • More likely to work for a small business with fewer than 50 employees (43 percent versus 26 percent)
  • Far less likely to have a usual source of care (51 percent versus 86 percent)
  • Half as likely to have visited a doctor in the past year (38 percent versus 72 percent)
  • Nearly four times as likely (40 percent versus 11 percent) to say they didn’t see a doctor because it cost too much.

The report also delves into how this group defines whether an insurance plan is affordable, a crucial goal of the Affordable Care Act. The largest percentage – 28.3 percent – said they would be willing to pay between $76 and $150 a month on premiums. A little more than a quarter (27.3 percent) said they would be willing to pay more than $150.

This may suggest there will be some “rate shock” for these consumers. The average individual policy price in Colorado will be $200 a month, according to the newly-released rates for the 242 health plans which will be for sale on the marketplace. Prices will range from $135 a month on the low end to almost $1,000 a month for the most comprehensive coverage.

As implementation of health reform picks up speed in 2014 and beyond, the CHAS will continue to provide data to understand how it is working.

About the survey: The 2011 Colorado Health Access Survey (CHAS) is an extensive survey of health care coverage, access and utilization in Colorado. It is administered every other year via a random-sample telephone survey of more than 10,000 households across the state. It is a program of The Colorado Trust. The Colorado Health Institute manages the data collection and survey analysis. Results from the 2013 CHAS will be available in November.

The report is available at Colorado Health Institute.


Learn about the health equity issues affecting Coloradans at Collective Colorado, a publication of The Colorado Trust.