State Health Insurance System in “Frail” Condition, According to New Report
Key findings of a recent report on the state of the health insurance system in California are grim.
6.5 million non-elderly Californians were uninsured at the end of 2005. (Most elderly Californians have health coverage.) Three-fourths of that total were people who had not had health coverage for a significant amount of time — not just because of gaps in employment or other temporary setbacks. One in four had never had health insurance. Over half had either never had insurance or had lacked it for over 3 years. 61% of the uninsured were people in families with incomes below 200% of the federal poverty line. Over 80% of the uninsured were people with jobs and/or their family members.
As the report notes, “Those uninsured the entire year are much more likely than other groups to: have no usual source of care; not see a doctor regularly or have a well-child visit; not take medications for asthma, diabetes and high blood pressure; or receive any of a number of preventive care services.”
The report notes that even those who have health insurance coverage have reason for concern, since the number of people who have coverage through employment-sponsored programs continues to fall, even though the period covered by the report was one of growth for the state economy. The report concludes that the employment-sponsored health insurance network “is in frail health and its condition may be irreversible.”