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2015 CHAS: In the Field

By Amy Downs

This blog post is republished with permission from the Colorado Health Institute.

It’s official. The Colorado Health Access Survey is in the field. And even though this is the earliest the survey has ever been launched, it’s not a minute too soon.

Hardly a day goes by when I don’t receive a question that can best be answered by data that the 2015 CHAS will yield.

How many Coloradans have gained health insurance after the two open enrollment periods under the Affordable Care Act? What percentage remain uninsured? Why haven’t they obtained health insurance? Which areas of the state have achieved the most gains? Are the people who have gained insurance able to find affordable care?

These are just a sample of the questions the 2015 CHAS will help us to answer when the findings are revealed in late August. Again, that’s about three months earlier than the new data have ever been available.

All these early deadlines mean Colorado’s survey, which is funded by The Colorado Trust and fielded and analyzed by CHI, will be among the first state surveys—if not the first—to provide in-depth information on the impact of the ACA on insurance coverage, access to care, understanding of health insurance, and whether coverage is truly affordable. It will also tell us how the newly insured are using health care.

The CHAS is Colorado’s premier source of detailed data on whether the goals of health reform—more people with health insurance, more affordable insurance and greater access to health care—are being met. Since the last CHAS in 2013, key provisions of the ACA have rolled out and the state has had more experience with its Accountable Care Collaborative (ACC), the signature Medicaid reform initiative.

The CHAS lets policymakers, communities, researchers and others measure the effectiveness of the health policy changes by the state and federal governments.

Over the next three months, 10,000 randomly selected households will provide this information through a telephone survey targeting both landlines and cell phones. Social Science Research Solutions, a company with years of experience, is in charge of conducting the actual survey.

The CHAS has been administered every other year beginning in 2009. The 2015 survey went into the field on March 2. You can view earlier publications, presentations and data here.

The 2015 CHAS reflects input from a variety of perspectives: lawmakers, health care providers, insurers, health policy experts, safety net representatives, advocates, businesses and others. Several themes emerged in discussions that CHI had with these stakeholders, including how health care reform has affected affordability, adequacy of coverage and whether the newly insured really understand their coverage.

CHAS data can be cross-tabulated by geography, insurance status, age, income, education, race/ethnicity and other factors. This analysis will yield a detailed, regional-level look at the new health insurance landscape.

The goal of both The Colorado Trust and CHI: informed and effective policymaking that drives state- and community-based efforts to improve the health of all Coloradans.

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