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Thanks in large part to Medi-Cal and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and to the new coverage options offered by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), 93 percent of California children have health coverage. More than half of all children in California — five million children — are now covered by Medi-Cal.
Despite those gains, between 390,000 and 500,000 California children remain uninsured. Providing health coverage for children has numerous benefits in the short- and long-term. Children with health coverage get regular care that can help avoid costly hospitalizations and the long-term health consequences of treatable conditions. Covered children also learn better in school and have higher educational attainment. We work to ensure every child in California has access to affordable health coverage.
Many uninsured California children are eligible for free or low-cost coverage, but are unenrolled. An estimated 160,000 uninsured children are eligible for coverage through Medi-Cal but are not signed up, and an estimated 10,000 uninsured children are eligible for subsidies through Covered California.
CDF-CA advocates for improved eligibility and enrollment systems, as well as outreach and education efforts to ensure all children who are eligible for affordable coverage get enrolled and stay enrolled. CDF-CA also works locally through partnerships with school districts in Los Angeles County to develop school-based strategies to identify uninsured children and connect them with health coverage.
Together, Medi-Cal and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) have cut the rate of uninsured children in California by half over the last decade, and today the programs provide comprehensive, affordable health coverage to more than half of California children. CDF-CA works to protect and build upon those gains by defending Medi-Cal and CHIP from cuts at the federal and state levels, and advocating for additional investments in children’s coverage.
Under the ACA, California has extended coverage to millions of previously uninsured or under-insured Californians through Medi-Cal and Covered California. The ACA also put in place much-needed changes in the health care industry, including providing no-cost preventive care, ending discrimination against children and adults with pre-existing conditions and eliminating caps on health coverage. Read our new fact sheet: How Are California Children Faring on the Fifth Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act?