Health insurance coverage set to expand in Los Angeles County
Uninsured population in LA County remains quite high
The uninsured population remains high in Los Angeles County, California, despite successfully enrolling nearly half a million people into the state’s health insurance exchange last year. Only five other states have a higher uninsured population than Los Angeles County alone, which has become a significant concern for state officials and consumer advocates. Caring for those without insurance coverage falls upon the county government and a network of community clinics that are tasked with providing medical care.
Report shows that some 1.55 million uninsured people live in LA County alone
A recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that there are approximately 1.55 million uninsured people in Los Angeles County. Of these, 46% are non-citizens, according to information from the Center for Health Reporting. Another 39% have not completed high school and 23% earn less than $25,000 a year. Many consumers have been able to find coverage through the state’s health insurance exchange and most of them qualify for subsidies from the federal government that help offset the cost of insurance coverage. For those that do not qualify for these subsidies, however, insurance coverage can be too expensive to obtain.
Expanding access to health insurance coverage is becoming a priority
Last October, Los Angeles County launched the My Health LA program. This $61 million initiative sought to expand access to health insurance coverage, with some 131,000 people enrolling into the program. Individuals that make 136% or less of the federal poverty level, which is approximately $33,465 for a family of four, is eligible for the program, but many of the people living in Los Angeles are undocumented residents, who do not have access to health insurance coverage through typical channels.
Access to insurance coverage will be expanding to children
Children of undocumented residents will gain access to health insurance coverage next year as part of the 2015-2016 state budget. The budgets allows for the expansion of the Medi-Cal program, which will provide coverage to some 170,000 undocumented children living in the state. The cost of the program has been estimated at approximately $40 million a year.