Percent of Californians Enrolled in Medi-Cal Now Exceeds Uninsured Rate

As California reduced the number of adults ages 19 to 64 years without health insurance by 15.5% from 2013 to 2014, Medi-Cal enrollment among the same age group rose from 12.9% to 19.2% during the same time period, according to new data from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

As California reduced the number of adults ages 19 to 64 years without health insurance by 15.5% from 2013 to 2014, Medi-Cal enrollment among the same age group rose from 12.9% to 19.2% during the same time period, according to new data from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

The researchers analyzed data from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) to determine the decline in the rate of uninsured. With the uninsured rate at 17.4%, this is the first time the percentage of people receiving Medi-Cal has exceeded the rate of people without insurance.

“The number of people without insurance, especially among low-income families and the middle class, is going in the right direction—down,” Ninez A. Ponce, PhD, MPP, associate center director at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, said in a statement. “But with 4.5 million still uninsured in the state, our job is not over yet.”

According to the data, while Medi-Cal coverage increased, employer-based coverage still continued to insure more than half (50.9%) of all nonelderly persons in the state of California. Enrollment in public programs other than Medi-Cal, such as Medicare and Aid to Infants and Mothers, declined to under 2% of the population.

Despite 13.6% of the nonelderly population remaining uninsured, UCLA determined that increases in coverage provide evidence that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has significantly improved access to health insurance for millions of Californians.

“Comparing CHIS 2014 health insurance rates to those of the prior three years provides clear support for the importance of the impact ACA expansions have had on the health insurance status of nonelderly Californians.”

Earlier this week, Kaiser Health News reported the quest to fold California Children’s Services into Medi-Cal, which would place the program, serving 180,000 children, into managed care in phases through 2019.