About 1.2 million California residents lost their employer-based health insurance coverage from 2009 to 2011, according to a study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Employer-Based Insurance Findings
The study found that the number of state residents with employer-based coverage decreased from 17.3 million in 2009 to 16.1 million in 2011.
According to the study, the percentage of Californians with employer-based coverage decreased from 56.4% in 2001 to 49.7% in 2011.
Government Insurance Program Findings
The study found that the percentage of state residents enrolled in state government safety-net programs -- such as Medi-Cal and Healthy Families -- increased from 15.7% in 2009 to 19.1%, or 6.2 million individuals, in 2011. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program and Healthy Families is California's Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Findings on Uninsured Residents
The study found that the percentage of uninsured state residents remained largely unchanged from 2009 to 2011, at nearly 7 million individuals or about 21% of the population under age 65 (Terhune, Los Angeles Times, 10/25).
Shana Alex Lavarreda -- director of UCLA's health insurance studies program and lead author of the study -- said, "We're seeing the toll of two years of high unemployment with the loss of job-based insurance," adding, "With the state still reeling from a 10.2 percent unemployment rate, public health insurance enrollment has expanded to meet the increased need."
Lavarreda said, "It's clear that the job-based model just doesn't work for everyone in an age of high unemployment and rapidly changing job markets," adding, "When the major insurance expansions occur in 2014" under the federal health reform law, they should "provide relief to the millions of Californians who for years have struggled to survive without health insurance" (UCLA Center for Health Policy Research release, 10/25).