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Center for Labor Research and Education

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Who Had Medi-Cal and Who Remained Uninsured in the First Year of Expansion?

UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education
UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

Summary

Despite the strong growth in the number of Medi-Cal beneficiaries since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the state’s decision to expand Medicaid, some Californians who are eligible for coverage are still uninsured. Using data from the 2014 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), this brief compares non-elderly adults who were enrolled in Medi-Cal with non-elderly adults who were income-eligible for comprehensive Medi-Cal coverage but remained uninsured during 2014, the first year of the Medicaid expansion. Males and young adults eligible for Medi-Cal were less likely to enroll than females and adults 30 and over, respectively. The primary reasons for remaining uninsured included perceptions of ineligibility and being “in process” of getting insurance. Recommendations include targeted outreach to hard-to-enroll groups as well as encouraging low-income uninsured Californians to apply for Medi-Cal even if they are unsure of their eligibility.