What is Affordable When 8 Million in CA Go Without Health Insurance
California’s financial woes have stumbled into the health insurance arena and the results are not pretty. A new study at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that from 2008-2009 nearly 2 million Californians lost health insurance coverage, bringing the total to over 8 million Californians without any health insurance.
Health insurance has been a touchy topic of late, especially in California where an already infamous move by health insurance giant Anthem Blue Cross of California attempted to hike prices on individual plans by as much as 39 percent. The Obama administration gave Anthem as well as a number of its cohorts a stern warning and the providers responded in turn by backing down on the proposed hikes for the time being.
For California, the situation highlights a broader crisis in the world of health insurance. The current state of California’s fiscal affairs is dismal at best. The state is on the brink of economic collapse due to an extremely large debt. Massive layoffs, the housing bubble and a proclivity towards spending on credit has put Californians in a precarious situation.
Many Californians are buying their own health insurance plans if they can afford it. California is an odd state in terms of the higher numbers of self-employed workers and workers employed in areas that do not provide group health insurance. This forces many to go it alone when it comes to health care and insurance.
The staggering job loss coupled with the steep cost of health insurance has made it nearly impossible for individuals to maintain health insurance coverage, which is the primary reason for the 2 million drop off in the health insurance pool since the recession began.
The UCLA study found the 28 percent increase from 2007 was directly related to job loss. This puts the current percentage of uninsured in California at 25 percent – a quarter of all Californians are without health insurance coverage of any sort. This includes 1.5 million children without coverage.
The outlook for California is not all gloom and doom. The Obama Administration’s renewal of extended COBRA benefits as well as a push to increase federal health insurance subsidies to Californians is proving helpful. The health care overhaul being forced into being, will also likely have some positive effects on the state of California’s health care and health insurance.