Studies Identify Likely Beneficiaries of Health Reform Law in California
Many of the Californians who would be newly eligible for health insurance coverage under the federal health reform law in 2014 might be the least likely to use costly health services, according to two studies released by UCLA, the Riverside Press Enterprise's "Daily News Digest" reports (Hines, "Daily News Digest," Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/10).
The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research conducted the two studies, which were funded by the California HealthCare Foundation. CHCF publishes California Healthline.
As many as 4.57 million Californians who previously were uninsured or underinsured might be eligible for coverage under the federal health reform law, researchers found.
According to one study, the reform law's mandated Medicaid expansion could help about 2.13 million Californians up to age 64 qualify for Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program.
The second study found that an additional 1.71 million uninsured Californians and 737,000 residents with individual health insurance policies likely will qualify for coverage under the California Health Benefit Exchange, which was mandated under the reform law.
Effect on Health Care Costs
Researchers noted that expanding coverage to such a large population likely will increase spending in California's health care system.
However, Nadereh Pourat, lead author of the two briefs, said costs "may also be mitigated by the relative youth and health of the eligible population."
Of the Californians who will be newly eligible for coverage under the Medi-Cal expansion and the health insurance exchange, a significant percentage are male, single and between ages 18 and 44, according to the studies. Researchers noted that such populations tend to be the least likely to use costly health services.
Pourat said that "by bringing so many young Californians into the system, we may even reduce risk systemwide" (UCLA Center for Health Policy Research release, 5/10).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.