CHA News Article

Reports Compare Access to Care Under Medi-Cal, Employer-Sponsored Insurance

Two new studies – one by the University of California, Los Angeles and one by the Urban Institute – compare access to care for Medi-Cal enrollees to other beneficiaries. The UCLA study used data from the 2012-13 California Health Interview Survey to compare access to care between Medi-Cal enrollees and those with employer-sponsored insurance. The Urban Institute’s companion report used data from the 2011-13 National Health Interview Survey to conduct a similar comparison between Medi-Cal and Medicaid programs in other states. Both reports show how factors such as race and location contribute to disparities in access, and they highlight the challenges faced by Medi-Cal and participating health plans in ensuring access that is comparable to that of other insured Californians.

Key findings of the two studies include:

  • For both Medi-Cal and employer-sponsored insurance, access to care is often worse for those with poor health, a disability, low income or of a race other than non-Hispanic white.
  • For California adults, about two-thirds of the measures showed significant gaps in access between Medi-Cal and employer-sponsored insurance.
  • For children with Medi-Cal, far fewer – about 20 percent – of the measures indicated a gap in access compared to employer-sponsored insurance.
  • On most measures, access to care in Medi-Cal was comparable to Medicaid in other states after controlling for differences in health and socioeconomic status.

Both reports are available on the California Healthcare Foundation website.