Higher proportion of California children uninsured than in US, analysis shows

November 14, 2012

Compared to the nation, a higher proportion of children in California are uninsured, one in every 10 children or more than 1.1 million in 2011. More of California's children have public health insurance and fewer through their parents' employer. And, over the past three years, a decade of advances in California children's public insurance enrollment has stalled, as coverage in Healthy Families (California's children's health insurance program) declined as a result of reductions in state government funding.

These are just a few of the findings in a new report from the California HealthCare Foundation developed by the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) and Diringer and Associates that provides an overview of trends in children's and insurance programs in the state.

Other findings include:

  • California's proportion of children without health coverage is higher than the national average and most other states. Nevada has the highest proportion of uninsured children and Massachusetts has the lowest.
  • Of California residents aged 18 or younger, 56 percent had , 38 percent had Medi-Cal (the state's , which provides health coverage for people with low incomes) or Healthy Families, and 11 percent were uninsured in 2011.
  • Public coverage through Medi-Cal and Healthy Families expanded 46 percent from 2002 to 2011, while employer-based coverage declined by 16 percent.
  • Medi-Cal continues to fill the gap in coverage created by the decline in private insurance. In 2011, almost 3.7 million children were enrolled, up from about 2.6 million in 2001.
  • Uninsured children are far more likely than those with coverage to have needed care delayed or to not receive care.
"Our findings have direct relevance to the health reform issues covered during the Presidential campaign," said Michael Cousineau, lead author of the report and associate professor in the departments of Family Medicine and at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. "With full implementation of the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act more certain, there are new opportunities for many of these children to gain coverage and, more importantly, access to care including immunizations, annual checkups, and care for acute and chronic health problems. Even children of some small business employees might benefit since small employers are eligible for a subsidy to help provide insurance for their employees and their families."

As many as 1 million uninsured children may be eligible for Medi-Cal or private coverage through the new California Health Benefits Exchange. Not all children will be covered, however—undocumented immigrant children will not be eligible and will have to rely on safety net clinics and public hospitals such as the Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center for care.

Explore further: High number of children and teens in US uninsured despite having a parent with health insurance

More information: For a copy of the study, go to www.chcf.org/publications/2012/11/childrens-health-coverage

Related Stories

5.7 million Californians lack access to job-based coverage

November 30, 2010

Most Americans receive health insurance coverage through their employer, or through an employed family member's dependent coverage. Yet having a job is no guarantee of coverage, according to a new policy brief from the UCLA ...

Recommended for you

Bacteria in smokeless tobacco products may be a health concern

August 26, 2016

Several species of bacteria found in smokeless tobacco products have been associated with opportunistic infections, according to a paper published August 26 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American ...

Is tailgating toxic?

August 26, 2016

While tailgating this football season you may want to take a step back from the grill and generator—for your health.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.