Millions More Calif. Residents To Gain ACA Coverage, Experts Say
Health experts in California predict that millions of additional state residents will enroll in health coverage under the Affordable Care Act in the coming years, KQED's "State of Health" reports (Dornhelm, "State of Health," KQED, 4/23).
Background on ACA Enrollment
Nearly 1.4 million state residents signed up for private health coverage during the insurance exchange's first open enrollment period, which ended April 15.
In addition, about 1.9 million California residents signed up for Medi-Cal coverage during the same period. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program (California Healthline, 4/18).
According to "State of Health," about 5.8 million state residents remain uninsured, about one million of whom are undocumented immigrants who are not eligible for coverage under the ACA.
Predictions on Future Enrollment
Gerald Kominski, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, said enrollment in the ACA's health insurance exchanges is a three-year process and likely will increase in the near future.
Kominski predicted that the majority of uninsured state residents will have health coverage by 2017, with just about 1.2 million residents remaining uninsured, excluding undocumented immigrants.
He said the uptick in enrollment likely will result from the ACA's tax penalties, which will be phased in over the next three years ("State of Health," KQED, 4/23).
Under the ACA's individual mandate, U.S. residents who are not exempt and fail to purchase coverage will be fined either $95 or up to a maximum of 1% of their income, whichever is greater. The penalty increases to a minimum of $325 or maximum of 2% of an individual's income in 2015, and a minimum of $695 or 2.5% of an individual's income in 2016 (California Healthline, 3/10).
Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC-Berkeley Labor Center, said that nearly 500,000 state residents likely will become eligible for coverage under the ACA in coming years because they will lose their existing health plans ("State of Health," KQED, 4/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.