Colorado Health Access Survey highlights ‘historic shifts’ – KUSA

The survey of more than 10,000 households found, among other things, that more Coloradans struggled with mental health this year.

DENVER — The 2021 Colorado Health Access Survey released this week highlighted “historic shifts in health, access to care, and social and economic conditions.”

The survey, which happens every other year, surveyed more than 10,000 Colorado households between February and June of this year. The results are weighted to reflect the demographics and distribution of the state’s population, according to the Colorado Health Institute.

What makes the survey a little different this time, is that the pandemic was taken into account. 

Despite the negative impacts of the pandemic, there were a few positives found in the survey results. 

“Notably, the state’s uninsured rate did not increase, because Medicaid stepped in to cover people who lost their jobs. Statewide rates of hunger and housing insecurity did not increase. Fewer people used health care, but providers and regulators created telemedicine systems almost overnight to compensate for a substantial portion of missed care,” the survey’s summary read. 

However, “Structural disparities based on race and income are still holding back too many Coloradans and make people more vulnerable to crises like the pandemic. The pandemic did not create these disparities, but it exacerbated them — and in many cases, the relief efforts do not seem to have fully addressed them,” the summary said. 

According to the survey, nearly 1.4 million Coloradans lost income or jobs because of the pandemic. 

Despite that, 93.4% of Coloradans remained insured, in part due to enrollment in the Medicaid program, which helped make up for drops in job-based insurance.

As for food insecurity, fewer Coloradans reported going hungry in the past year, with 8.1% of Coloradans reporting “not eating as much as they thought they should sometime in the past year because they could not afford food.”

That was down from 9.6% in 2019. 

“Pandemic relief programs and local anti-hunger efforts likely prevented job loss from affecting food access,” the report said. 

On the other end, inequities in job loss, in part due to the pandemic, were shown. 

Nearly one in three Black or American Indian/Alaska Native Coloradans lost a job due to the pandemic, compared to just 9.6% of people who are white.

The survey also shed light on a growing issue in Colorado: mental health. 

“We found that mental health really was a second health crisis after COVID-19,” Jeff Bontrager, the Director of Research and Evaluation for the Colorado Health …….


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