2017 Edition — California’s Uninsured

As coverage grows, millions go without

Paul Fronstin, Employee Benefit Research Institute


NOTE: Due to revisions to the 2015 CHIS data, pages 16–19 of the December 2016 full report were updated in November 2017.

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 and a quick reference guide are available for download below. Also available is an infographic, “After Two Years of ACA Enrollment, Many Newly Insured, Millions Left Behind,” which is set up for printing on 11″×17″ paper. These materials are part of CHCF’s California Health Care Almanac, an online clearinghouse for key data and analyses describing the state’s health care landscape. See our entire collection of current and past editions of California’s Uninsured.

Also see California’s Uninsured and Medi-Cal Populations: A Policy Guide to the Estimates (PDF), 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.