Capitol Alert

Survey: In California, more than 3 million newly insured in health coverage

About 3.4 million previously uninsured adults have obtained health insurance coverage in California in the past year, according to a new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

It found that nearly 60 percent of residents who lacked coverage reported signing up for health insurance since last summer.

The figures are based on estimates of the state’s uninsured population last year and reflect the experiences of a randomly selected panel of residents without health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act.

While most of the formerly uninsured were able to acquire coverage through Medi-Cal (25 percent), 12 percent got it through an employer and 9 percent through the state exchange, called Covered California, the survey said.

The survey also found that more than 40 percent of those who had never had insurance were able to get it – with outreach being a big factor in growing the ranks of the insured. A majority of the people who signed up via Medi-Cal or Covered California said they were assisted.

The foundation’s panel survey took place between April 1 and June 15. It also found that although most of the newly insured said their coverage constituted a good value, affordability of plans remained an issue.

Drew Altman, the foundation’s president and chief executive, noted that while many previously uninsured state residents – be they white, black or Latino – were able to sign up, “expanding coverage gets harder from here.”

“Most of those who remain uninsured have gone years without coverage, and many are immigrants who don't qualify or are worried about drawing attention to family members’ immigration status,” Altman said.

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