NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

California Leads Nation in Percentage of Uninsured Residents

August 17, 2000

"California leads the nation in the proportion of residents without health insurance, despite the fact that health insurance in the state is less expensive and more comprehensive than other states," reports the Nation's Health, newspaper of the American Public Health Association.

That is the conclusion of a recent report by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Center for Health and Public Policy Studies at the University of California-Berkeley. Among the report's findings:

  • 24 percent of nonelderly Californians are uninsured, compared to 18 percent nationwide.
  • Children in California are more likely to be uninsured -- 21 percent vs. 16 percent nationwide.
  • Medicaid enrollment as a percentage of the population has declined farther in California than in the U.S. as a whole since welfare reform and immigrant policy changes -- falling from 14 percent in 1994 to 11 percent in 1998.
  • Employers are much less likely to offer health insurance -- 48 percent of employers in California vs. 61 percent nationwide.

However, California families pay lower premiums for Health Maintenance Organizations than in other states -- an average of $405 per monthly vs. $445 nationwide.

The report found other trends where California seems different from the rest of the U.S. For example, nearly a quarter of California Hispanics (23.8 percent) say they are in fair to poor health, compared to less than 15 percent of Hispanics nationwide.

Source: "California Has Top Ranking in Uninsured Residents," Nation's Health, August 2000; " Health Care Trends and Indicators in California and the United States," June 2000, Kaiser Family Foundation.

For Kaiser Report:


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