Half of Kids and a Quarter of Adults in California Are Enrolled in Medi-Cal

Half of children and a quarter of adults in California are enrolled in the state’s low-income health plan, according to numbers released Wednesday.

There are 5.2 million children and 7.4 million adults enrolled in Medi-Cal, according to the figures provided by the Department of Health Care Services. That’s about 57 percent of the child population and 25 percent of the adult population in the state, using U.S. Census Bureau population estimates.

Altogether, 32.4 percent of the state’s population is enrolled in the health program.

The numbers have increased from last year, when 19.2 percent of adults in California were enrolled in Medi-Cal, according to a report released this month from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

In 2013, just 12.9 percent of adults in the state were enrolled.

Medi-Cal offers health coverage to low-income children and adults, ages 0-64. After age 64, many adults are eligible for the federal health program Medicare.

While the number of people with employer-sponsored insurance declined slightly between 2011 and 2014, from 52.8 percent to 50.9 percent, fewer nonelderly Californians were uninsured last year, according to the UCLA report.

That’s due to the rise in Medi-Cal enrollment, as well as a boost in the number of people purchasing their own insurance. In 2011, 6.3 percent of people ages 0-64 had individually-purchased insurance, while last year 7.3 percent did.

The uninsured rate for the same age range decreased from 16.2 percent in 2011 to 13.6 percent in 2014.

The UCLA researchers say that the data show that the Affordable Care Act, which opened the insurance gates to millions of Californians, has had an impact.

“The significant increases in public and private individually-purchased coverage provide strong evidence that the ACA has significantly improved access to health insurance for millions of Californians,” the report states. “Nevertheless, 13.6 percent of the nonelderly population remains uninsured, so more work remains to be done to make health insurance accessible for all Californians.”

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