Children’s Coverage Trends Reveal a Clear Bright Spot in California Health Care

For Immediate Release
November 20, 2013
For More Information Contact:
Isobel White, (510) 828-3554

New Report Shows State Is Making Progress, Has Opportunity to Enroll More Children in Coverage

November 20, 2013 (Sacramento) – California’s commitment to children’s health insurance coverage is paying off, according to a report released today by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. Between 2010 and 2012, data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) shows that more than 100,000 children gained coverage statewide, reducing the percent of uninsured children to 7.9%.

“California’s ongoing progress in reducing the number of uninsured children in the state is great news, because it means more children will have access to the care they need to show up to school healthy and ready to learn,” said Ted Lempert, President of Children Now. “Fortunately, Californians have new coverage options through the Affordable Care Act. We should expect to continue making progress on children’s coverage in 2014 and beyond.”

California’s health insurance marketplace – Covered California – opened for business on October 1.  Families need to sign up by December 15 for their coverage to start on January 1, 2014. Many of the estimated 700,000 uninsured children in California and their families are eligible for Medi-Cal coverage or premium assistance to defray the costs of purchasing coverage through the marketplace. Children who are eligible for Medi-Cal can apply now for coverage starting immediately.

Yamilet Valladolid, a Site Supervisor at El Concilio located in California’s Central Valley, is a Certified Enrollment Counselor who has been helping families sign up for coverage. She said, “Families come to us for help with what can seem like a confusing process and they get to walk away knowing they can access medical care that they can afford, when they need it. This is a new experience for many families and we are so excited to play this role in enrolling children into coverage.”  

“California’s residents and its leaders should be proud of the progress we’ve made improving children’s coverage,” said Wendy Lazarus, Founder and Co-President of The Children’s Partnership. “And we’re excited about more of their parents getting coverage for the first time as a result of expanded Medi-Cal coverage. When every member of the family has coverage, children are more likely to get regular preventive care to keep them healthy and see a health care provider sooner when they are sick.”

“The progress on children’s health coverage is mainly due to the success of California’s Medi-Cal program, and efforts to make it easier for children and young adults to get and retain coverage,” said Joan Alker, author of the Georgetown University report.

“With the largest number of children in the country, California has a unique responsibility to continue the progress we have made in the last few years,” said Suzie Shupe, Executive Director of California Coverage & Health Initiatives. “Now is the time to dig in and make sure we are reaching every family, in the language they speak, to help them enroll. In this way, we can make coverage a reality for many thousands more.”

A new national survey released along with the Georgetown University report found that getting all children covered is important to Americans.  Almost nine out of ten surveyed said they believe all children in their state should have health coverage. 

California is making particular progress in covering more Latino children. Between 2010 and 2012, the number of uninsured Latino children declined by more than 95,000. “Ensuring California’s Latino children have coverage is an important step in addressing the health disparities that affect communities of color,” said Jamila Iris Edwards, Northern California Director of the Children’s Defense Fund-California.

To learn about health insurance coverage options, Californians can visit www.coveredca.com or call 800-300-1506. Families can also be connected to an in-person assistor by calling 800-300-1506.

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