Kay Temple Kirk of Gender Health Center urges consumers to sign up for health care as Covered California gives consumers until Feb. 4 to finish enrolling in a plan. Claudia Buck The Sacramento Bee
Kay Temple Kirk of Gender Health Center urges consumers to sign up for health care as Covered California gives consumers until Feb. 4 to finish enrolling in a plan. Claudia Buck The Sacramento Bee

Health & Medicine

California’s uninsured rate drops to new low

By Cathie Anderson

canderson@sacbee.com

November 21, 2017 05:00 AM

UPDATED November 21, 2017 03:12 PM

California continued to realize gains in signing people up for health insurance in 2017, according to new statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control showing that the Golden State’s uninsured rate dropped to a new low of 6.8 percent in the first six months of the year.

Moreover, the states that operate their own health insurance marketplaces had an uninsured rate of 8.3 percent, compared with 16.1 percent for those states in the federally facilitated exchange, the CDC data show.

“These data show loudly and clearly that states like California that have sought to make the Affordable Care Act work for their residents are delivering – dramatically reducing the rate of the uninsured in ways that translate into lower premiums for everyone,” said California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Diana Dooley, in a prepared statement.

The CDC report from the National Center for Health Statistics, “Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, January–June 2017,” offers up the first look into results following the 2017 open-enrollment period. The percentage of uninsured in California is down from 7.2 percent in the first six months of 2016.

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In 2013, the year before ACA plans became available, California’s uninsured rate was 17 percent.

“California is not alone in the historic gains made possible by the Affordable Care Act,” said Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California. “This new survey shows that overall, state-based marketplaces continued to reduce the rates of their states’ uninsured, while those states supported by the federal marketplace saw the first uptick in their uninsured since 2014.”

California and other states across the nation are in their third week of open enrollment for ACA plans with coverage starting Jan. 18. In California, open enrollment will end Jan. 31. To learn more, visit www.coveredca.com.

Cathie Anderson: 916-321-1193, @CathieA_SacBee