Publications
Issue brief: Medicaid eligibility and wages

Issue brief: Medicaid eligibility and wages

Colorado, like other states across the country, has seen increases in the state minimum wage since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Colorado has also seen high rates of disenrollment from Medicaid, particularly since the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (a process known as the PHE Unwind.) The increase in the state minimum wage has been proposed as an explanation for the high rate of disenrollment. However, our analysis leads us to believe that there are other, more significant factors that explain why Colorado’s disenrollment rate is so high compared to other states in the country. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and KFF (who collected their data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), we examine how wage increases since 2019 might have influenced a low-wage workers eligibility for Medicaid, and how wages changes in other states compared to their disenrollment rates in order to better understand the relationship between wages and Medicaid enrollment across the country. Using statistics, we can quantify the relationship between wages and disenrollment rates to determine how changes in wages explain — or don’t explain — the variation we see in states’ Medicaid disenrollment rates.
June 2024 Joint Budget Committee presentation on PHE Unwind

June 2024 Joint Budget Committee presentation on PHE Unwind

On June 20, 2024, CCLP's Chief Legal and Policy Officer Bethany Pray joined a panel assembled by the Colorado Health Policy Coalition, to testify on the subject of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) Unwind. This resource document provides the talking point notes of the presentation given by Ms. Pray, including citations, to assist in clarifying and dispelling the rumors and assumptions that have beset discussions of Medicaid enrollment.
Community Testimony Guide

Community Testimony Guide

Testifying is an important way for any member of the public to get involved in the legislative process and shape the bills that become laws in our state. A testifier explains an issue and lets legislators know how a bill will impact real people. Learn more about how to testify in our Community Testimony Guide. This guide was prepared for Colorado’s 2024 legislative session.
Medical Debt & Your Credit Report: Know Your Rights Resources / La deuda médica y su informe de crédito: Recursos para conocer sus derechos

Medical Debt & Your Credit Report: Know Your Rights Resources / La deuda médica y su informe de crédito: Recursos para conocer sus derechos

Thanks to a new law in Colorado, your credit report can’t include information about your medical debt anymore. This means your unpaid medical bills won’t affect your credit score. CCLP and our partners have created a fact sheet and guide to consumer rights to help you understand your rights under the new law. Available in English and Spanish. Gracias a una nueva ley en Colorado, su informe de crédito ya no puede incluir información sobre su deuda médica. Esto significa que sus facturas médicas no pagadas no afectarán su puntaje de crédito. CCLP conjunto con otras organizaciones hemos creado una hoja informativa y una guía de los derechos de los consumidores para que entiende sus derechos bajo la nueva ley.  Disponible en inglés y español.
CCLP Annual Report 2022

CCLP Annual Report 2022

Colorado Center on Law and Policy releases its annual report each year to share stories of impact from the past year, to affirm our mission and progress toward our vision of a Colorado in which everyone has what they need to succeed,  to provide financial statements indicating the fiscal health of the organization, and to acknowledge the many funders and philanthropic organizations who make our work possible.
Medicaid Appeals Guides / Las Guías de apelaciones de Medicaid

Medicaid Appeals Guides / Las Guías de apelaciones de Medicaid

With the end of continuous coverage requirements in Medicaid looming ever closer, we expect at least 350,000 Coloradans will lose their Medicaid coverage over the course of the next year. This series of 3 Medicaid Appeals Guides is designed to help community members better understand their rights and how best to utilize these resources. NOTICE: This updated version of the guide is based on the latest state policies and guidance as they were understood on March 4, 2024. However, those policies may be subject to further change. Check this website for future policy updates: copolicy.org/medicaidappeals
Amicus Brief: French v Centura Health

Amicus Brief: French v Centura Health

Amicus brief filed by Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI), Colorado Center on Law and Policy (CCLP); and Colorado Legal Services (CLS) on June 25, 2021, on behalf of the plaintiff in French v Centura Health. on May 16, 2022, the Colorado Supreme Court unanimously reversed the lower court’s opinion, holding that Ms. French could not agree to a price term that was never disclosed to her. The Court also noted that Centura had refused to even turn over the chargemaster during the course of the litigation. The result of this case was a victory for advocates fighting against predatory hospital billing practices.

HEALTH:
HEALTH FIRST COLORADO (MEDICAID)

To maintain health and well-being, people of all ages need access to quality health care that improves outcomes and reduces costs for the community. Health First Colorado, the state's Medicaid program, is public health insurance for low-income Coloradans who qualify. The program is funded jointly by a federal-state partnership and is administered by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing.

Benefits of the program include behavioral health, dental services, emergency care, family planning services, hospitalization, laboratory services, maternity care, newborn care, outpatient care, prescription drugs, preventive and wellness services, primary care and rehabilitative services.

In tandem with the Affordable Care Act, Colorado expanded Medicaid eligibility in 2013 - providing hundreds of thousands of adults with incomes less than 133% FPL with health insurance for the first time increasing the health and economic well-being of these Coloradans. Most of the money for newly eligible Medicaid clients has been covered by the federal government, which will gradually decrease its contribution to 90% by 2020.

Other populations eligible for Medicaid include children, who qualify with income up to 142% FPL, pregnant women with household income under 195% FPL, and adults with dependent children with household income under 68% FPL.

Some analyses indicate that Colorado's investment in Medicaid will pay off in the long run by reducing spending on programs for the uninsured.

FOOD SECURITY:
SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (SNAP)

Hunger, though often invisible, affects everyone. It impacts people's physical, mental and emotional health and can be a culprit of obesity, depression, acute and chronic illnesses and other preventable medical conditions. Hunger also hinders education and productivity, not only stunting a child's overall well-being and academic achievement, but consuming an adult's ability to be a focused, industrious member of society. Even those who have never worried about having enough food experience the ripple effects of hunger, which seeps into our communities and erodes our state's economy.

Community resources like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, exist to ensure that families and individuals can purchase groceries, with the average benefit being about $1.40 per meal, per person.

Funding for SNAP comes from the USDA, but the administrative costs are split between local, state, and federal governments. Yet, the lack of investment in a strong, effective SNAP program impedes Colorado's progress in becoming the healthiest state in the nation and providing a better, brighter future for all. Indeed, Colorado ranks 44th in the nation for access to SNAP and lost out on more than $261 million in grocery sales due to a large access gap in SNAP enrollment.

See the Food Assistance (SNAP) Benefit Calculator to get an estimate of your eligibility for food benefits.

FOOD SECURITY:
SPECIAL SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION PROGRAM FOR WOMEN, INFANTS AND CHILDREN (WIC)

Every child deserves the nutritional resources needed to get a healthy start on life both inside and outside the mother's womb. In particular, good nutrition and health care is critical for establishing a strong foundation that could affect a child's future physical and mental health, academic achievement and economic productivity. Likewise, the inability to access good nutrition and health care endangers the very integrity of that foundation.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition information for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding postpartum women and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.

Research has shown that WIC has played an important role in improving birth outcomes and containing health care costs, resulting in longer pregnancies, fewer infant deaths, a greater likelihood of receiving prenatal care, improved infant-feeding practices, and immunization rates

Financial Security:
Colorado Works

In building a foundation for self-sufficiency, some Colorado families need some extra tools to ensure they can weather challenging financial circumstances and obtain basic resources to help them and their communities reach their potential.

Colorado Works is Colorado's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and provides public assistance to families in need. The Colorado Works program is designed to assist participants in becoming self-sufficient by strengthening the economic and social stability of families. The program provides monthly cash assistance and support services to eligible Colorado families.

The program is primarily funded by a federal block grant to the state. Counties also contribute about 20% of the cost.

EARLY LEARNING:
COLORADO CHILD CARE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (CCCAP)

Child care is a must for working families. Along with ensuring that parents can work or obtain job skills training to improve their families' economic security, studies show that quality child care improves children's academic performance, career development and health outcomes.

Yet despite these proven benefits, low-income families often struggle with the cost of child care. Colorado ranks among the top 10 most expensive states in the country for center-based child care. For families with an infant, full-time enrollment at a child care center cost an average of $15,140 a year-or about three-quarters of the total income of a family of three living at the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

The Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) provides child care assistance to parents who are working, searching for employment or participating in training, and parents who are enrolled in the Colorado Works Program and need child care services to support their efforts toward self-sufficiency. Most of the money for CCCAP comes from the federal Child Care and Development Fund. Each county can set their own income eligibility limit as long as it is at or above 165% of the federal poverty level and does not exceed 85% of area median income.

Unfortunately, while the need is growing, only an estimated one-quarter of all eligible children in the state are served by CCCAP. Low reimbursement rates have also resulted in fewer providers willing to accept CCCAP subsidies.