Millions of Californians May Gain Insurance Under Health Reform
NearlyÂ five million uninsured California residents could gain access to health insurance in 2014 when Medicaid eligibility is expanded and the state's health benefit exchange is launched as called for in the federal health care reform law, according to a report by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Researchers derived their findings from the 2009 California Health Interview Survey, which estimated the number of Californians who were uninsured for part or all of that year.
According to the report, in 2014, 3.1 million of California's seven million uninsured residents will qualify for Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program. Many of the newly insured will include low-income adults who do not qualify for Medi-Cal now because it only applies to families. Â
The study also found that 1.7 million uninsured Californians whose income is too high to qualify for Medi-Cal will qualify for federal subsidies to help offset the cost of coverage they could purchase in the state's new health benefit exchange.
However, the state faces several challenges to increasing enrollment, including the complexity of both the application process and eligibility requirements.
In addition, the report did not take consider ongoing discussion of budget cuts. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) is proposing cutting Medi-Cal provider reimbursement rates by 10% and capping beneficiaries' number of physician visits.
Though the federal government is expected to pump additional funds into Medi-Cal in 2014, public funding remains a point of concern for health care advocates (Helfand, Los Angeles Times, 2/15).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.