Nearly 97% of California Children Have Insurance

The vast majority of children in California now have health insurance, a result of state reforms that have expanded coverage, according to a new report.

Nearly 97 percent of children statewide were insured in 2015, the report from the Georgetown University Center Health Policy Institute found. That’s up 55 percent from the number who were insured in 2013, according to the report released last month.

From 2013 to 2015, California insured more children than any other state nationwide, and saw the highest decline in its percentage of uninsured children. During those two years, an additional 371,000 children gained coverage.

“Our focus on the health of our children is a critical investment in the future of our state,” Mayra Alvarez, president of the California advocacy group The Children’s Partnership, said in a statement. “When children get the coverage they need, they are more likely to grow up healthy, reach their full potential and become tomorrow’s leaders.”

Under the Affordable Care Act, the state expanded its low-income health plan, known as Medi-Cal, enabling more children to enroll. The program now covers 58 percent of children in California, according to The Children’s Partnership.

A state law that enables undocumented children to enroll in Medi-Cal took effect this year and is expected to further reduce the number of uninsured children.

In 2015, before most undocumented children could enroll, California still had the second largest number of uninsured children in the country. There were 302,000 uninsured children in the state that year.

The number of uninsured children was highest in Texas, which had 682,000 uninsured children in 2015. Alaska, meanwhile, had the highest uninsured rate in the nation that year, with 10.5 percent of children going without insurance. The rate was lowest in Vermont and Massachusetts, where about 1 percent of children were uninsured.

Families who would like help enrolling their children in health insurance can call 855-899-7587 or visit the Health 4 All Kids website.

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