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The State of Health Insurance in California: Findings from the 2005 California Health Interview Survey

July 1, 2007

Research Report

Authors: E. Richard Brown. PhD, Shana Alex Charles, PhD, MPP, Ninez A. Ponce, PhD, MPP, Jean Yoon, MHS, Janet Cummings, Thomas Rice, PhD

This report from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research shows that job-based health insurance coverage -- the backbone of the state's system of health insurance – continues to decline. More than 6.5 million Californians under age 65 (more than one in five nonelderly residents) went without insurance for at least part of 2005. Even with the strong economic recovery, employment-based coverage of the nonelderly population as a whole fell from 56.4% in 2001 to 54.3% in 2005. Expanding enrollment of children in Medi-Cal and Healthy Families more than offset children’s loss of employment-based insurance between 2001 and 2005. Nearly one in three California children is now covered by Medi-Cal or Healthy Families (30.9%). Other findings from the report include:
  • The erosion of job-based insurance is most severe for low- and moderate-income adults, but they lack the safety net that helps many children.
  • The uninsured have more health problems than the insured, but get less health care, including preventive screenings and treatment for chronic conditions.
  • Three-fourths of uninsured employees worked for a firm that does not offer coverage at all or were not eligible for their employer’s health plan.
  • Lack of access to affordable health insurance is the main obstacle to coverage for working families and individuals.
The report was funded by grants from The California Endowment and The California Wellness Foundation. Findings are based on data collected in the 2005 California Health Interview Survey.

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