53% of Uninsured Californians Eligible for Medi-Cal, ACA Subsidies

More than half of uninsured Californians qualify for either Medi-Cal coverage or subsidies under the Affordable Care Act to help pay premiums, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report released Tuesday, KPCC’s “KPCC News” reports. Medi-Cal is California’s Medicaid program.

For the state-by-state report, KFF reviewed data from the 2015 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (O’Neill, “KPCC News,” KPCC, 10/13).

Report Findings

According to the report, California has about 3.85 million uninsured residents. Of all the states that expanded their Medicaid programs under the ACA, California had the highest number of remaining uninsured individuals, according to the report.

Of the remaining uninsured California residents:

  • 37%, or about 1.43 million people, are eligible for Medi-Cal; and
  • 16%, or 623,000 people, are eligible for subsidies to purchase coverage through Covered California (Aliferis, “State of Health,” KQED, 10/13).

Of the nearly 1.8 million uninsured California residents who are not eligible for Medi-Cal or exchange subsidies, more than 50% — or 922,000 — are ineligible because of their immigration status.

The report cited several reasons why uninsured individuals who are eligible for Medi-Cal or subsidies might not seek coverage, including:

  • Confusion about qualifying for financial assistance; and
  • Misconceptions about costs.

Larry Levitt, a Kaiser Family Foundation senior vice president, said, “What’s needed to reach the remaining uninsured is intensive outreach and education and in many cases one-on-one assistance to help people understand the options available to them” (“KPCC News,” KPCC, 10/13).

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