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Snapshot of the Medi-Cal Newly Eligibiles

A new publication from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) gives us a snapshot of the low-income individuals who will qualify for Medi-Cal in 2014.

Age and Health Status

Data from population survey data finds that within this population:

  • 60% are under age 40 and no less healthy than current, non-disabled Medi-Cal enrollees;
  • 30% are under age 25; and
  • Between 15 and 25% currently report fair or poor health status, with one in four reporting a chronic health condition

Because of the number of individuals with poor health status who will be eligible, it will be important to enroll the young and healthy into programs by creating targeted efforts at state and local levels.

Age distribution by insurance coverage, poor adult citizens (age 19-64 with incomes below 139% FPL) in California

Self-reported fair/poor health status by insurance coverage, poor adult citizens (ages 19-64 with incomes below 139% FPL) in California

Current Medi-Cal Population vs. Newly Eligibles

Compared to the current Medi-Cal population, the newly eligibles are:

  • More likely than current Medi-Cal population to be male and living in a household with no dependent children;
  • More likely than current Medi-Cal population to have a college degree; and
  • Less likely than current Medi-Cal population to report mobility problems or difficulty caring for themselves.

Family structure by insurance coverage, poor adult citizens (ages 19-64 with incomes below 139% FPL) in California

Culture of Coverage

A focus group consisting of newly eligibles and parents of children on Medi-Cal found that:

  • Some uninsured feel they don’t need coverage or frequent access to the health care system;
  • There are too few health care providers, long waits for appointments, and a perception of lower quality of care in Medi-Cal; and
  • Coverage is valuable because is provides peace of mind.

The study concludes that reform efforts should focus on a new “culture of coverage” in which insurance is expected, maintained, and ultimately valued.

Read the press release here.

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