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Cost of Insuring California's Uninsured

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Publication Date: May 2005

Publisher(s): UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

Author(s): Gerald F. Kominski; Dylan H. Roby; Jennifer R. Kincheloe

Funder(s): California Endowment

Funder(s): California Endowment

Topic: Health (Health services for the uninsured)
Health (Health care financing)

Keywords: uninsured; insurance; California

Type: Brief

Coverage: California


This new study found that providing health insurance to the estimated 6.3 million Californians who were uninsured in 2001 would increase health care expenditures within the state by about $842 million, or $143 per uninsured person, with significant savings likely through program consolidation, better health and preventive care, reduced uncompensated care spending by "safety net" providers, and expanding insurance revenues.

The study used 2001 California Health Interview Survey data and 1998-2000 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data to provide estimates of the direct expenditures ($9.8 billion) made on behalf of Californians in the health care system. Then, data was collected from all of California's counties and programs for the uninsured in order to estimate the cost of providing indirect subsidies ($3.6 billion) to the uninsured.

The authors suggest that providing health insurance may be more affordable if the state can find mechanisms for redirecting current sources of public and private expenditures on behalf of the uninsured.