The UCLA Center For Health Policy Research has released a new study on Californians without health insurance, and the news from California continues to be discouraging. The number of Californians who lost their jobs and their health insurance increased in every county in the state, and as a result, the state’s uninsured population has reached 24.3%, or about 8.4 million. In comparison, in 2007, only 6.4 million Californians were without health insurance.
Unsurprisingly, the areas with high rates and numbers of uninsured tended to be those that experienced sharp increases in local unemployment and corresponding drops in both household income and job-based coverage. Counties in Southern California, the San Joaquin Valley and the Northern Sierras were particularly hard-hit, including Imperial, Kern and Shasta counties. Areas with fewer layoffs such as the Bay Area had fewer uninsured.
Unfortunately, many areas that experienced large layoffs and a corresponding rise in unemployment and uninsureds did not have a corresponding rise in applicants for public health insurance programs even though many of the newly unemployed may qualify. Experts suggest that many fo the newly unemployed may not realize that they are eligible for government programs to help them with paying for their healthcare and/or health insurance.
If you are newly unemployed in California, don’t forget that these programs may be able to help you:
Medi-Cal: California’s Medicaid program which provides health care services for low-income individuals including families with children, seniors, persons with disabilities, foster care, pregnant women, and low income people with specific diseases such as tuberculosis, breast cancer or HIV/AIDS
California’s Interim High-Risk Health Insurance Pool: California’s new high-risk health insurance pool for Californians with pre-existing conditions. Information is also available at HealthCare.gov.
Medicare: Medicare is not just for senior citizens. You may also be eligible if you have a disability.
Have you been laid off and unsure about what programs may be able to help you get health insurance? Tell us about it!
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