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Majority of California's Medi-Cal caregivers live in or near poverty
Date:4/11/2012

The demand for caregivers is growing rapidly as California's population ages, but the majority of state's Medi-Cal caregivers earn poverty or near-poverty wages and have poor access to health care and food, a new study from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research has found.

Fifty-seven percent of paid Medi-Cal caregivers and almost half of all 450,000 paid caregivers in the state have incomes that leave them in poverty or near poverty, according to the study, "Hidden in Plain Sight: California's Paid Medi-Cal Caregivers Are Vulnerable." Medi-Cal is the state's public health insurance program for low-income seniors or adults with long-term illnesses or disabilities.

"Paid caregivers do a lot but get paid very little," said Geoffrey Hoffman, the study's lead author. "They play a critical and complex role caring for our aging or disabled parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors yet can earn only a little more than minimum wage."

With recent state budget cuts, the situation for caregivers is already more precarious; it could worsen now that the state's Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) program has transitioned into a different program, and if further cuts are made to In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), Hoffman noted.

The study is based on the 2009 California Health Interview Survey, which is administered by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and is the nation's largest state health survey.

An estimated 6 million caregivers in California provide much-needed services for a family member, friend or other individual with a long-term illness or disability. Of these caregivers, about 450,000 are paid for the services they provide, and two-thirds of them approximately 290,000 are paid Medi-Cal caregivers.

The study found:

  • Paid Medi-Cal caregivers earn the least
    The average monthly income for paid Medi-Cal caregivers was $1,970, compared with $4,222 for caregivers who we
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Contact: Letisia Marquez
l.marquez@ucla.edu
310-794-6963
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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