Colo. Medicaid ranks growing

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State officials say nearly 615,000 Coloradans were on Medicaid in November, which is a record high.

Officials are attributing most of the growth to economic hard times rather than recent eligibility expansions.

Sue Birch is director of the state Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. She told members of the Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee on Wednesday that the 614,146 Coloradans enrolled in Medicaid in November represented a nearly 58 percent increase over January 2007. That rate outpaces the state’s population growth in that time.

Including about 72,000 children and pregnant women covered under the state’s CHP+ program, roughly 13 percent of all Coloradans are covered by state health-insurance programs.

Birch expects caseloads will keep growing up to two years after unemployment levels recede.