Location, Location, Location: Health Insurance by ZIP Code in Colorado

Do you live in ZIP code 80023 in Broomfield? Chances are very, very good that you have health insurance. The same goes for ZIP code 80126 in Highlands Ranch.

These two neighborhoods are tops for health insurance coverage. Their residents have just a 5.7 percent probability of being uninsured, the lowest in the state.

The news is much different if you live in ZIP code 81076 in rural Crowley County east of Pueblo. This is Colorado’s worst ZIP code for health insurance. Residents of 81076 have the highest probability of being uninsured in the state at 36.0 percent.

Where you live matters because health is local.

A new research brief published today by the Colorado Health Institute shows that where you lives matters because health insurance is local as well.

 “Location, Location, Location: Health Insurance by ZIP Code,” delves into how the characteristics of a neighborhood impact the probability that a resident under the age of 65 will lack health insurance.

CHI is accompanying the research brief with an online interactive story map that provides detailed information on 458 ZIP codes in Colorado. With one click, you can learn how your ZIP code stacks up for health insurance coverage.

This project involved pairing data from the 2013 Colorado Health Access Survey (CHAS) with ZIP code-level socioeconomic factors. A logistic regression model developed by CHI then predicted the probability of being uninsured.

The analysis identified six factor that are significant community-level predictors of whether residents in a given ZIP code are likely to be uninsured. Listed in order of relative importance, they are: percentage of the population below poverty, percentage of the population that speaks Spanish at home, median age, unemployment rate, the percentage of housing that is renter-occupied and average household size.

A map of the probabilities for each ZIP code paints a picture of how uninsurance differs within regions of the state. For instance, a closer look at the Eastern Plains shows that residents in ZIP codes closer to the Front Range and metro Denver have lower chances of being uninsured compared with those in outlying areas.

Delving deeper into the predictors of uninsurance illuminates how interventions might target efforts to address uninsurance.  While one community’s probability of uninsurance may be due to a high prevalence of pre-retirees, another community’s probability may be due to a high prevalence of those who speak Spanish.

Regardless of the reasons, these insights can help state and local leaders hone in on the starkest disparities and better understand how to target Colorado neighborhoods and communities to increase insurance coverage.  

Data from the 2015 CHAS will be released in just a few months and will give us insight into how health insurance rates have changed after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at the state and regional levels. The Colorado Health Institute will also update these community-level analyses. 

The CHAS is funded by The Colorado Trust.

Rebecca Silvernale is a senior data analyst at CHI.