Sacramento-area residents are buying insurance on the state’s new health care exchange much faster than anticipated - but hundreds of thousands still lack coverage, new figures show.
The Affordable Care Act requires most individuals without health insurance to obtain it and provides subsidies to those unable to afford premiums. One way to purchase insurance is through the state’s health care exchange, Covered California.
About 27,000 individuals in the four-county region bought insurance on the exchange from October through December 2013, the first three months the exchange was open, new Covered California statistics show. That’s almost as many as the state initially predicted would buy insurance during the entire six-month enrollment period.
In addition, thousands more were likely deemed eligible for coverage under Medi-Cal, the public health insurance program expanded under the Affordable Care Act.
Still, close to 270,000 residents in the four-county region lacked health insurance last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, meaning that the equivalent of about 10 percent of the region’s uninsured gained coverage through the health care exchange during the last three months of 2013. (The actual percentage is likely lower. Some who bought insurance on the exchange previously were insured but lost their insurance because it was deemed inadequate under the new law.)
Sacramento and the Bay Area have seen the greatest proportion of uninsured residents sign up through the exchange. Inland southern California and the southern portions of the Central Valley have seen the lowest proportion of residents enroll.
This map shows the percentage of uninsured California residents who bought health insurance through Covered California from October through December 2013, broken down by region.