California Issues report on State of Health Care Insurance

Individual or Family Health
Group Health Coverage

California Health Care Insurance

A new report commissioned by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and conducted by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research has been issued on the state of those without access to affordable health insurance in the state of California.

One of the most distressing findings in the report? Employee based low cost health benefits have all but disappeared in the state. The finding was not surprising to Governor Schwarzenegger who has said since his inauguration that access to affordable health coverage and healthcare in his state has been steadily eroding. He added that the findings of the report underscored the need for his proposed reforms to California’s healthcare and health insurance delivery system.

In addition to discovering that despite a strong economy the number of adults and children enrolled in employee based group health insurance plans fell significantly since 2001, the survey also found:

  1. This loss of coverage shifts costs to the taxpayers and those with health insurance coverage
  2. 80% of those without access to affordable health insurance coverage were gainfully employed and either worked for firms that did not offer health insurance, or did not qualify for the health insurance benefits if the company provided them.

Governor Schwarzenegger ’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Reform Plan addresses many of the issues found in the Report. Much like the Massachusetts plan that became effective this month, Schwarzenegger’s plan calls for mandated coverage for all individuals, and provides for a “Guarantee Issue”. The Guarantee Issue works in conjunction with the mandate by setting limits on what individuals can be charged in the health insurance market based on age or health status. This ensures that all Californians will have access to affordable health insurance regardless of their age or health.

In addition under the Governor’s plan those who cannot afford medical insurance or do not have access to health benefit coverage from their jobs will be able to buy low cost health insurance products from a subsidized pool.

While the report did not offer any specific statistics on filings for medical bankruptcies in the state of California, a similar study conducted by The Harvard Medical School concluded that the number of bankruptcies due to medical expenses was about 50% nationwide.