56% of the Almost 120,000 Coloradans Enrolled with Health First Colorado or CHP+ Maintained Coverage in May

Since the Federal Public Health Emergency ended, renewals align with historical trends


July 5, 2023

Media Contact
Marc Williams
Department of Health Care Policy & Financing
720-626-0801 (Cell) 

Denver, CO - HCPF has been working diligently with stakeholders — care providers, advocates, counties, and more — to achieve the shared goal to Keep Coloradans Covered and minimize the impact of the end of the Public Health Emergency. To comply with federal directives, and after more than a three year pause, the Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF) resumed the standard eligibility renewal and disenrollment process starting with May renewals for Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program) and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) coverage. 

“It is our top priority to ensure that every Coloradan that is eligible has access to the coverage that they need. We appreciate the continued outreach efforts by our county, provider, health plan, employer and community partners to help us achieve our shared goal of Keeping Coloradans Covered,” said HCPF Executive Director Kim Bimestefer. 

The state has been working with stakeholders for more than two years to prepare for a return to standard eligibility reviews for each of the 1.75 million Coloradans currently covered under Health First Colorado and CHP+, as required by the federal government. The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act required states to keep Medicaid and CHP+ members enrolled in coverage beginning on March 20, 2020. Since then, Health First Colorado and CHP+ have grown by more than 500,000 members. The state’s priority is to ensure effective member engagement throughout the renewal process as well as collaboration across all stakeholders to connect disenrolling individuals to other sources of affordable coverage. 

Colorado’s data from renewals due in May, the first month of standard Medicaid eligibility operations following the end of the Public Health Emergency, shows similar renewal rates compared to pre-pandemic levels. To better understand the first month’s data coming in, HCPF compared results to 2018-2019 numbers:

  • In close alignment with 2018-2019, 56% of those with May renewal anniversaries maintained coverage. Of those, HCPF automatically renewed 43% through recent advances in processing technology (“ex parte”), while 57% renewed after completing their renewal packet.
  • Forty-two percent (or about 50,000) of individuals whose coverage expired in May no longer qualify for public safety-net coverage, which also closely aligns with the 41% pre-pandemic figure.
  • Of the 42% disenrolled, 16% (or almost 20,000) no longer qualify due to exceeding the income levels for their household size or eligibility classification. HCPF planned for this situation because Colorado’s economy is so strong. The bulk of those newly enrolling into Medicaid and CHP+ over the last three years did so during the COVID-induced economic downturn, and as of May 2023, Colorado’s unemployment rate was lower than pre-pandemic levels, at 2.8%.
  • Twenty-six percent (about 30,000) of those with May renewal anniversaries lost eligibility for procedural reasons such as not completing the renewal paperwork submission process. That figure was 12% prior to the pandemic. Only 3% of Coloradans voluntarily disenrolled from Health First Colorado and CHP+ coverage. These two areas represent opportunities for targeted outreach going forward.

HCPF will continue to put effort into enrolling and renewing eligible individuals. Coloradans covered by Health First Colorado and CHP+ should update their contact information so they can be reached, while those who have other coverage should  voluntarily disenroll from these safety-net programs. That will better refine renewal statistics going forward and more importantly, enable resources to be properly channeled to achieve the shared goal of Keeping Coloradans Covered. Individuals who have other health coverage can voluntarily disenroll from Health First Colorado by visiting co.gov/PEAK or by calling their county Human Services Department. 

Resuming standard eligibility processes means that some Coloradans covered through Health First Colorado and CHP+ members will lose coverage after their anniversary month. Members with renewals due in May began receiving notifications in March about important steps to take to complete their renewal. Disenrollments for those who did not respond or no longer qualified were effective June 1. 

The renewal information released today is a snapshot in time, some renewals are still being processed, so reported percentages will shift over time. Each state is approaching the renewal implementation process differently so comparisons across states are not as relevant as looking at prior trends for renewals within that state. 

Individuals can apply or disenroll in Health First Colorado or CHP+ coverage at any time if there is a change in their life circumstances, like losing or securing a job, or if they lose coverage as a result of not completing or returning their renewal paperwork. Insurance carriers (health plans) are also engaging with the state and their employer clients to help connect Coloradans losing Health First Colorado coverage to employer sponsored coverage. Connect for Health Colorado is a key partner in Colorado’s quest to Keep Coloradans Covered and a solid resource for those who are losing Health First Colorado coverage and may not have access to employer-sponsored coverage. 

For more information about the renewal process and frequently asked questions visit KeepCOCovered.com. For more information about health insurance coverage types visit the Colorado Division of Insurance Types of Health Insurance Information page.


About the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing: The Department administers Health First Colorado (Colorado's Medicaid program), Child Health Plan Plus, and other programs for Coloradans who qualify. These health care programs now cover about one in four Coloradans. For more information about the Department, please visit hcpf.colorado.gov.