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4.7 million Californians to gain coverage under health reform, new study estimates
Date:2/15/2011

Up to two-thirds of California's 7 million uninsured residents will become eligible for health insurance coverage when health care reform is implemented in 2014, according to a new policy brief from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

The study draws on the latest data from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), which will be released shortly.

The policy brief, "Two-thirds of California's 7 Million Uninsured May Obtain Coverage Under Health Care Reform," finds that 4.7 million Californians, including both adults and children, will likely be eligible in 2014 for new coverage options, either the health insurance exchange or Medi-Cal expansion.

The brief presents county-by-county estimates of the number of Californians who had job-based, public or private insurance in 2009, as well as those who were uninsured for all or part of that year.

"This expansion will have a huge impact on the number of people without insurance," said Shana Alex Lavarreda, lead author of the brief. "It will provide relief in the short term to millions of Californians who currently have no insurance options. And it will provide long-term relief to all residents by shifting the taxpayer emphasis from high-cost emergency room services to lower-cost preventative care."

Poor to benefit most

Based on the CHIS 2009 data, center researchers estimate in the brief that 3 million uninsured Californians will gain coverage through health reform's Medi-Cal expansion and 1.7 million will be eligible for subsidies through the state's health insurance exchange. Additionally, 1.2 million will become eligible to purchase non-subsidized coverage through the exchange.

The remaining 1 million non-citizen Californians who lack health insurance are not eligible for benefits under health reform, largely due to citizenship or residency status.

Reform may particularly help those struggling in the economic dow
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Contact: Nancy Brands Ward
nancybward@ucla.edu
310-794-6963
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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