HealthFirstCO_LogoFinal_CMYKAs of June 27, 2016, Medicaid, Colorado’s public health insurance program for low-income Coloradans who qualify, is called “Health First Colorado.”

The new name reflects the significant improvements that have been made to modernize Colorado’s Medicaid program to better engage members and improve the quality and coordination of care. The Health First Colorado rename has been made possible through grants from the Colorado Health Foundation and Caring for Colorado Foundation.

The name itself – Health First Colorado – aims to convey the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing’s commitment to putting its members’ health first, as well as encourage its 1.3 million members to put their own health first.

“Good health and access to health care are the very foundation of a productive and engaged life,” said Susan E. Birch, MBA, BSN, RN, executive director of the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. “Health First Colorado, Colorado’s Medicaid Program, provides a foundation for more than one million people in Colorado and through the new name and logo, we are proudly conveying the critical importance of the services we and our partners provide.”

The foundation grants funded the consumer research and development of the name, creation of the logo and website, production of advertising collateral in English and Spanish for transit and radio along with a contract manager to manage the project from conception through launch with minimal use of taxpayer dollars.

“The name Health First Colorado represents Colorado’s forward-thinking approach to health coverage, and the significant impact Colorado Medicaid has in improving our residents’ health and fueling our economy,” said Colorado Health Foundation President and CEO Karen McNeil-Miller. “We are proud to support the launch of Health First Colorado and our shared goal of ensuring that all Coloradans are enrolled in stable, affordable and adequate coverage.”

“We have a long-standing commitment to improve access to health care for underserved populations in Colorado,” said Chris Wiant, President and CEO of the Caring for Colorado Foundation. “The Health First Colorado launch provides our state the opportunity to expand health insurance coverage and improve access to care. I’m hopeful that the Health First Colorado launch will result in less uninsured Coloradans and will increase participants’ knowledge about their health and health insurance.”

While the name and look of Colorado Medicaid are changing, member eligibility, benefits, and providers will remain the same. The name change is one example of ongoing efforts to modernize the Medicaid program to be a more person-centered health insurer. Examples of that ongoing work include:

  • Focus on improving care coordination through the Accountable Care Collaborative,
  • Formation of a Member Advisory Council that provides input to improve member communications and engagement,
  • PEAKHealth mobile app to allow members to more efficiently access benefit information, and
  • Recently added benefits such as dental coverage and mail order prescriptions.

With the rename, Colorado becomes the twentieth state to update its public insurance program name to be more consumer friendly, to minimize confusion with the Medicare program and to help reduce stigma that can sometimes be associated with Medicaid. Oklahoma renamed its program to SoonerCare more than two decades ago and beginning July 1st, Louisiana is renaming its program to Healthy Louisiana.

Over the coming months Coloradans will see and hear more about Health First Colorado through grant-funded advertising across digital platforms, transit and radio. For more information on finding a doctor, benefits, how to apply and more, please visit

Click here for a recorded webinar about the name change.

About the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing

The Department administers Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program) and Child Health Plan Plus as well as a variety of other programs for low income Coloradans who qualify. For more information about the Department, visit

Source: Health First Colorado