CHA News Article

UCLA Center for Health Policy Research Releases Report on State of Health Insurance in California
Outlines findings from the 2011-12 California Health Interview Survey

The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research has released a new report titled 2011-2012 State of Health Insurance in California. The biennial report documents the challenges facing Californians in securing health care insurance for themselves and their families. The findings are based on data from the 2011-12 California Health Interview Survey, the nation’s largest state-based health survey and one of the largest health surveys in the U.S. Because the data were collected just before full implementation of health care reform, the report will serve as a baseline to gauge the effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The report outlines health insurance prior to the ACA coverage expansions; employment-based coverage and the individual market; transitions in Medi-Cal, Healthy Families and Medicare; and the role of insurance in access to care. Key report findings include:

  • Almost half of the 6.9 million Californians who lacked insurance in 2012 were in a family with a full-time worker.
  • The number of adult workers with job-based health insurance declined between 2009 and 2012. Full-time workers saw a drop of 2.9 percentage points to 63.6 percent, and part-time workers dropped 2.2 points to 39.6 percent.
  • Latinos had the lowest rate of job-based health coverage — 33.9 percent, compared to 63.3 percent of whites — and the highest rate of not being uninsured, 28.4 percent.
  • Although nearly one-third of low-income adult Latinos had Medi-Cal, one in four still lacked a usual source of care, and 17.2 percent of adult Latinos covered by job-based insurance didn’t see a doctor in 2011-12, a much higher rate than either non-Latino whites or African Americans.
  • Adults ages 19-26 were the only age group that gained health coverage from 2009 to 2012, with job-based coverage for them jumping from 23.2 percent to 27.1 percent. That was an increase of 254,000 people. This age group also experienced the largest drop in the rate of people without insurance, decreasing from 28.9 percent in 2009 to 26 percent in 2012.
  • For older adults, the percentage of those covered by job-based insurance decreased. In the 40- to 54-year-old age group, more than half a million people lost job-based coverage — a drop from 49 percent in 2009 to 45.4 in 2012.
  • Among individuals with health insurance, high deductibles played a big role in whether people put off having medical procedures. Californians with high-deductible plans purchased directly from an insurance company delayed or went without needed medical care at a rate double that of those without high-deductible plans — 16.1 percent versus 6.6 percent.
  • While the share of workers carrying individually purchased insurance is small — about 5 percent of full-time workers and 9.5 percent of part-time workers — the burden falls on many who are small business owners.
  • Among whites with a family income higher than 400 percent of the federal poverty level (about $92,200 for a family of four in 2012), one in four went without insurance all or part of the year.
  • One-fifth of Californians under age 65 in 2012 — 6.4 million people — were insured by Medi-Cal and the Healthy Families programs. That included nearly 2.6 million low-income children ages 0-11. This represented an eight percentage point jump from 2009 — the biggest increase of any age group — to 40.3 percent covered. Nearly 70 percent of children covered by Medi-Cal are Latino.

“While the clear early success of the ACA in enrolling young adults in private coverage is promising, our data show that even the insured have delays in care, problems affording deductibles, and other access barriers that we hope will be addressed,” said Shana Alex Charles, lead author of the study and director of the Health Insurance Program at the Center for Health Policy Research.

The full report is attached.