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California's Uninsured: As Coverage Grows, Millions Go Without

Paul Fronstin, Employee Benefit Research Institute

Since implementation of the ACA, California's uninsured rate has dropped by half. Still, nearly 3 million remain uninsured, and there could be big changes in coverage ahead with Donald Trump's election.

NOTE: Due to revisions to the 2015 CHIS data, we removed the December 2016 chart deck and infographic from this page on September 1, 2017. These documents will be reposted once they have been updated.

Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2014, the uninsured rate in California dropped by nearly half, from 16% in 2013 to 9% in 2015. However, 2.9 million Californians remained uninsured.

California's Uninsured: As Coverage Grows, Millions Go Without provides a look at the uninsured two years after full implementation of the ACA. There could be big changes in health insurance coverage ahead with the election of President Donald Trump.

Key findings include:

  • The drop in the uninsured rate was mainly due to a seven percentage point increase in individually purchased insurance coupled with a five percentage point increase in Medi-Cal enrollment.
  • One in three of California's uninsured had annual incomes of less than $25,000. At this income level, people are potentially eligible for Medi-Cal.
  • Of the state's remaining uninsured, one in four were age 25 to 34, one in three were noncitizens, and more than half were Latino.
  • 62% of the uninsured were employed. Of the 1.8 million uninsured workers, 44% worked in firms with fewer than 50 employees.
  • Fewer Californians cited "lack of affordability" as the main reason for going without health insurance in 2015 compared to 2014.

The complete report, a Quick Reference Guide, all the charts found in the report, and the Current Population Survey (CPS) data, along with past years' editions, are available as Document Downloads.

Related CHCF Pages below offers a link to California's Uninsured and Medi-Cal Populations: A Policy Guide to the Estimates, which provides specific advice to those who frequently need to cite estimates of the number of uninsured Californians using the CPS and California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) data sets.

Almanac Updates

The CHCF Almanac regularly publishes data and analysis on California's health care market.

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