California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Calif. Uninsured Rate Falls to 11% After Exchange Open Enrollment

The uninsured rate in California has been cut in half after the first open enrollment period for the state's health insurance exchange, according to a new Commonwealth Fund survey, the Los Angeles Times reports (Terhune, Los Angeles Times, 7/10).

The survey, which included 4,425 adults ages 19 to 64, compared the uninsured rates between:

National Findings

Nationwide, the survey found that the uninsured rate decreased from 20% to 15% from 2013 to 2014.

Overall, the largest gains in coverage were among:

  • Individuals ages 19 to 34;
  • Latinos; and
  • Low-income individuals (Florido, KPCC's "KPCC News," 7/10).

Meanwhile, the survey found that uninsured rates among low-income individuals stayed the highest in states that chose not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (Bernstein, Reuters, 7/10).

California Findings

In California, the survey found that the uninsured rate dropped from 22% in 2013 to 11% in 2014 -- the largest decrease among the nation's six biggest states ("KPCC News," KPCC, 7/10).

The survey also found that:

  • About 75% of Californians said they were aware of the state's insurance exchange in 2014, compared with 42% in 2013; and
  • About 70% of Californians in 2014 said they were aware of financial subsidies for health coverage under the ACA, compared with 41% in 2013 (Commonwealth Fund survey, 7/July 2014).

California officials have said that about 1.2 million individuals have enrolled and paid their first premiums for coverage purchased through Covered California and that other state residents bought policies outside the exchange. In addition, two million state residents gained coverage through Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program.

State officials said the results of a statewide survey on enrollment will be released this fall (Los Angeles Times, 7/10).

Other Surveys Back-Up Findings

In related news, two separate surveys also found a significant decrease in the number of uninsured adults after ACA's first open enrollment period.

The Urban Institute's Health Reform Monitoring Survey found that eight million U.S. adults gained coverage during open enrollment.

Meanwhile, a Gallup-Healthways poll found that the uninsured rate decreased to 13.4% in June 2014, the lowest since it began tracking such rates in 2008 (Nather, Politico, 7/10).

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