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: Up to 220,000 California children excluded from health care reform due to immigrant status

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

Related Stories

Up to 220,000 California children excluded from health care reform due to immigrant status

June 30, 2011
Restrictions on eligibility for health care reform programs will result in the potential exclusion of up to 220,000 children from affordable health care coverage in California, according to a new policy brief from the UCLA ...

Two new studies describe likely beneficiaries of health care reform in California

May 10, 2011
According to two new policy briefs from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, the majority of state residents likely to be eligible for federally mandated health insurance coverage initiatives in California in 2014 ...

Families shifting from private to public health insurance for children: study

July 27, 2011
Families are increasingly relying on public health insurance plans to provide coverage for their children, a growing trend that researchers say is tied to job losses, coverage changes to private health insurance plans, and ...

Recommended for you

Technology is changing Generation smartphone, and not always for the better

August 16, 2017
It's easy to imagine some graybeard long ago weighing in on how this new generation, with all its fancy wheels, missed out on the benefits of dragging stuff from place to place.

The environmental injustice of beauty

August 16, 2017
Women of color have higher levels of beauty-product-related chemicals in their bodies compared to white women, according to a commentary published today in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The authors say ...

Heavily used pesticide linked to breathing problems in farmworkers' children

August 15, 2017
Elemental sulfur, the most heavily used pesticide in California, may harm the respiratory health of children living near farms that use the pesticide, according to new research led by UC Berkeley.

Taking a stand on staying mobile after 80

August 14, 2017
(HealthDay)—If you want to stay as fit as possible well into your 80s, the answer may be as simple as standing on your own two feet.

Binge-watching 'The Walking Dead?' You might feel like a zombie yourself

August 14, 2017
Binge-watching is a great way for young adults to catch up on multiple episodes of their favorite television series like "The Walking Dead" or "Game of Thrones," but it comes at a price.

Bugs on the menu at Swiss supermarket

August 14, 2017
Switzerland's first insect-based food aimed at humans will go on sale next week following a revision of the country's food safety laws, a supermarket chain said Monday.

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.