More Residents in California Without Health Insurance than any Other State

It’s the end of the year and for most Californians open enrollment is quickly approaching for 2012 health benefits. An interesting statistic from a new survey shows that around seven million people in our state are without any form of health insurance and may not have the opportunity to enroll. In this recent article, Tim Kisken of the Ventura County Star describes how California leads the nation in residents without health insurance.

California leads nation in residents without health insurance
Coverage gap changes little, tops rest of U.S.
Friday, December 30, 2011

California had more residents without health insurance in 2010 — about 7 million — than any other state in the nation, according to a new study.

About 6 million adults younger than 65 and 1 million children lacked health coverage, according to data released this month by the California HealthCare Foundation. Over three years ending in 2010, an average of about 21 percent of the state’s nonelderly population was uninsured. That ranked eighth highest nationally on a list topped by Texas, where 27.3 percent lacked insurance.

Some of California’s numbers are almost exactly the same as in 2009. In both years, 21.5 percent of residents were uninsured, according to the nonprofit foundation’s annual tracking.

“You’ve had some disturbing trends not just over years but over decades of a gradual erosion of employer-based coverage and public programs picking up some but not all of the slack,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of the consumer advocacy group Health Access.

According to the study, 23.7 percent of working Californians were uninsured in 2010, higher than the national rate of 19.6 percent. Small businesses struggled the most to offer insurance, but 22.1 percent of people employed by private companies with 100 to 499 employees also were uninsured.

Steve Bower, who owns a truck-driving school in Oxnard, is covered through his wife. That will end when his divorce is finalized.

“No way I can afford it,” he said of getting a new policy. The 41-year-old Oak View resident worries about what would happen if he had an injury or illness and couldn’t run the school from day to day.

“I would be going in debt while I was in the hospital, and I would lose my company,” he said.

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Filed under: Employee Benefits, Health Insurance

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