According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 6.7 million people or one in five Californians is without health insurance, the highest of any other state. Of this number, an alarming 1.1 million uninsured are children. During the past two decades, the number of uninsured people in California has risen as employer-sponsored health insurance has declined. Being uninsured is a significant barrier to accessing necessary and cost effective health care services, including preventive care and treatment for chronic conditions.
California hospitals provided $12.2 billion of uncompensated care in 2009. Included in those billions of dollars of unreimbursed care is the cost of caring for the uninsured and under-insured, and payment shortfalls stemming from the Medicare and Medi-Cal programs. This significant underfunding of the health care system is being “shifted” to privately insured Californians, private contributors and local governments. It is also putting California’s community hospitals at further financial risk.
December 16, 2011California Healthcare FoundationDecember 2011
Over the past two decades, California has seen an increase in the
percentage of people who are uninsured. California now has the
largest number of people without health insurance — 6.9 million —
of any state in the nation.
With almost a third of its residents with no form of health
insurance, Shasta County tops the list of all California counties
with the highest percentage of uninsured patients, researchers
said in a new study released this week.
The number of uninsured patients treated at public hospital
systems increased 23% from 2008 to 2009, resulting in a severe
financial strain on the system that may force hospitals to close
their doors, according to the National Association of Public
Hospitals and Health Systems.
Over the past 21 years, the percent of uninsured Californians
under age 65 has continued to rise as employer-sponsored health
insurance has declined. Between 1987 and 2008, employer-sponsored
coverage declined 9%. Although Medicaid and individually
purchased coverage partially offset this decline, more than 20%
of Californians remain uninsured.
Nearly 1 in 4 Californians under age 65 had no health insurance
last year, according to a new report, as soaring unemployment
propelled vast numbers of once-covered workers into the ranks of
the uninsured. The state’s uninsured population jumped to 8.2
million in 2009, up from 6.4 million in 2007, marking the highest
number over the last decade, investigators from UCLA’s Center for
Health Policy Research said.