Published Date: November 04, 2022

Summary: During 2021, the second calendar year of the COVID-19 pandemic, California’s health insurance landscape remained relatively stable. This article focuses exclusively on Californians under age 65, which is the threshold for age-based Medicare coverage, and the coverage rates highlighted below include children except where otherwise specified (i.e., “nonelderly adults”).

Findings: Based on the 2021 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), the percentage of Californians under age 65 without health insurance, 7.4% in 2021, was not significantly different from the prior year. There also were no statistically significant changes across demographic groups, including income, age, geography, and race and ethnicity. Also, the rate of Californians with individual market coverage, 5.9% in 2021, was statistically unchanged from 2020, and the rate of Californians with Medi-Cal coverage (California’s Medicaid program), 26.4% in 2021, is statistically the same as in 2020, 24.8%. The rate of Californians with employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) declined significantly, from 60.1% in 2020 to 57.8% in 2021. Although the percentage of Californians without health insurance at a given time was unchanged in 2021, the rate of Californians experiencing long-term uninsurance (for a year or more) rose from 4.8% in 2020 to 5.7% in 2021, a statistically significant increase.

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