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Mental Health & Health

Coloradans Concerned With Health Care Costs, Access

Rural Health Professions Action Plan

Health care costs and mental health are two areas of concern for Coloradans. That’s according to the Colorado Health Institute’s Health Access Survey results, released last week. 

35% of residents in the I-70 mountain corridor, which includes Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin counties, said they received a medical bill for services they thought insurance would cover, the highest in the state. 22% of residents in the region said they had problems paying medical bills in the last year. 

Jeff Bontrager, the director of research and evaluation at the Colorado Health Insititute, said the number of people who struggled to pay medical bills jumped to 18% statewide. 

“That’s the highest we’ve seen since implementation of major provisions of the Affordable Care Act back in 2014,” Bontrager said. 

The survey also asked about residents' mental health. 15% of respondents in the  I-70 mountain corridor rated their mental health as "poor." 

Across the state, 13.5% of residents said they needed mental health care but did not seek any, nearly double from two years ago.

Bontrager said the increase may be due to more people having greater awareness of mental health.

“For whatever reason, they are stopping short of actually getting the services that they need,” he said. 

The Colorado Health Institute said it plans to research barriers to receiving mental health services.