Many California workers are at risk of losing their job-based health coverage when they lose their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this data brief, we examine which types of health insurance, if any, the workers most at risk of job loss had prior to this crisis. We use this analysis to inform our estimate that for every 100,000 California workers losing their jobs due to the pandemic, up to 67,000 workers, spouses, and children are at risk of losing job-based coverage.
Gerald F. Kominski
A Little Investment Goes a Long Way: Modest Cost to Expand Preventive and Routine Health Services to All Low-Income Californians
The California legislature is considering a proposal (Senate Bill 1005, the Health for All Act) that would expand Medi-Cal coverage to include primary and preventive care, prescription drugs, mental health care, dental care, and other routine health services for all low-income California residents regardless of immigration status. This brief finds that the proposed Medi-Cal expansion would involve new state spending, but the cost is modest in comparison to the impact on health and coverage, and the policy also produces savings.
California’s Steps to Expand Health Coverage and Improve Affordability: Who Gains and Who Will Be Uninsured?
In 2019, state lawmakers took steps to protect California’s coverage gains and increase affordability of coverage by instituting a state individual mandate penalty, providing additional subsidies for Covered California’s individual market enrollees, and expanding Medi-Cal to low-income undocumented young adults. California is the first state to include undocumented adults in full Medicaid benefits and the first to provide subsidies to middle-class consumers not eligible under the ACA.
3.6 Million Californians Would Benefit if California Takes Bold Action to Expand Coverage and Improve Affordability
Many California policymakers have expressed a desire and commitment to resist federal sabotage of the ACA, control health care costs, and achieve universal health care coverage. As the state explores ways to fundamentally redesign our health care delivery system—including by adopting a single payer or other unified public financing approach—state policymakers are also considering near-term policies that do not require federal approval but address the immediate challenges of improving affordability and expanding coverage.
We project that between 150,000 and 450,000 more Californians will be uninsured in 2020, growing to between 490,000 and 790,000 more uninsured in 2023, compared to the projected number if the ACA penalty had been maintained.