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Estimating the Cost of Caring for California's Uninsured

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Publication Date: May 2004

Publisher(s): UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

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

Funder(s): California Endowment

Funder(s): California Endowment

Topic: Health (Health services for the uninsured)

Keywords: health insurance; cost; California

Type: Brief

Coverage: California

Abstract:

This new study found that providing health insurance to the estimated 6.3 million Californians who are currently uninsured would increase direct health care expenditures within the state by about $7.4 billion, or $1,180 per uninsured person, with significant savings likely through better health, preventive care and reduced spending by "safety net" providers. The study used 2001 California Health Interview Survey data and 1998-2000 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data to provide estimates of the direct expenditures made on behalf of Californians in the health care system. 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.