Medicaid is health insurance for people who earn below a certain amount of money. The amount you earn and the size of your household determine your eligibility for Colorado’s Medicaid program, also known as Health First Colorado.
Who's Eligible to Apply for Medicaid
On probation or parole
On bond or diversion status
In a community corrections facility (halfway house) as a condition of probation or as a transition client from DOC, both residential and nonresidential, including inmate status
Who's Not Eligible to Apply for Medicaid
Incarcerated in jail or prison
Work release program for a county jail
Why You Should Apply for Medicaid
There are good reasons to have Medicaid insurance if you’re eligible. You'll be able to take better care of yourself. If you have Medicaid insurance, you can get coverage for medical, behavioral health (mental illness), and dental needs. Medicaid coverage includes routine things like physicals and office visits when you’re sick.
It’s illegal to not have insurance unless you qualify for an exemption such as not earning enough money, being incarcerated, or being homeless. If you don’t sign up for insurance, you could be fined a fee when you file your income tax. Please note you don’t get to make the decision about whether you’re exempt. You need to talk to a professional at the Department of Human Services office in your county or a health coverage guide to get the exemption.
How to apply
You can get help applying for Medicaid at the department of human services in your county. It might take a while, so take a book or something to do while you wait. Remember, there are other services you can apply for at the human services office. See the Benefits section for more info. Click on the button below to find a department of human services office.
You can also get help applying for Medicaid and other insurance at an application assistance site. An easy way to find one near you is to use The Blue Guide. On the website, enter your address, click on Get My Location, and then click on Access Assistance (in red) under Type of Care on the right side of the page. The red Access Assistance markers on the map are where you can get help applying for Medicaid. Click on the button below to use The Blue Guide.
You can apply online for Medicaid using Colorado PEAK. Peak stands for Program Eligibility and Application Kit. Create an account and apply for many different benefits, including Medicaid, at the link below. Remember, if you get frustrated filling in the application online, or if it doesn’t work (sometimes online systems don’t), you can get personal help at a Department of Human Services or Application Assistance Site. Click on the button below to apply using PEAK.
Already Have Medicaid? Find a Doc with RCCO
If you already have a Medicaid card, use a Regional Care Collaborative Organization to find a doctor. When you call your RCCO, they can also tell you about other local health care resources. You have 30 days from release to change your RCCO if you’re registered in the wrong county. Call 303-755-4138 right away. Otherwise, it can be a hassle to change your RCCO. Click below to see the list of RCCOs with contact information.
Note: if you live in Denver, make sure you’re clear about whether you’re enrolled in the Denver RCCO or the Denver Health RCCO. You must go to the provider for the RCCO you’re registered with. Many people get confused about this. Knowing your RCCO registration will keep you from going to the wrong provider when you’re sick.
Already Have Medicaid? Find Mental Health Treatment with BHO
If you have Medicaid and you want mental health services, you’ll need to contact the Behavioral Health Organization (BHO) in your area. There are five BHOs in Colorado. Click on the button below to find your BHO and learn more. The customer service number is on the right hand side of the page.
How to Choose a Medicaid Health Plan
If you already have your Medicaid card, HealthColorado can help you choose a Medicaid health plan. In Denver, call 303-839-2120. Outside of Denver, call 1-888-367-6557. You can learn more on the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing website by clicking below.
Medicaid Nurse Advice Line
If you have your Medicaid card, you can call the Colorado Medicaid Nurse Advice Line at 800-283-3221 for free medical information and advice at any time. You can also learn more at the website by clicking below.
Other Types of Insurance
If you don’t qualify for Medicaid, talk to a health coverage guide to learn about your options. Help from a guide is free and they’re located in offices throughout Colorado. Guides can also help you apply for financial assistance to reduce the cost of your insurance.
Connect for Health Colorado can help you find a health coverage guide near you. Enter your zip code and the distance you want to travel on the website below.
Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition recently published a helpful consumer guide to medical treatment services. You can read and download the guide on the Take Care Health Matters website.