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California Kids Lose Employment-Based Coverage: The Impact on the Community, Business, and the Public Insurance System

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Publication Date: September 2007

Publisher(s): Economic Policy Institute

Author(s): Elise Gould

Topic: Economics (Economic policy, planning, and development)
Health (Health care financing)

Type: Brief

Coverage: California


Losses in employer-provided health insurance among kids have serious consequences for the children themselves, families, communities, businesses, and the public insurance system. Th is Briefing Paper documents the ways in which children without employment-based coverage affect those around them, and it provides further evidence for the need for important legislative changes in California and the United States as a whole.

The first section outlines the state of employer-provided health insurance for kids in California and illustrates recent trends in coverage across various sub-populations. Such an analysis highlights the strengths, and more importantly the weaknesses of the current system, and points to the populations who have traditionally been left out and thus need to be targeted in future policy decisions.

This paper then examines the effects fewer insured children have on the community, businesses, and the public insurance system. It is important to understand the widespread effects uninsurance among children has on those besides themselves and their families. Their delay in treatment, lack of disease management, and use of emergency rooms ultimately are detrimental to community and schools, working families and through them business productivity, and the budgets of the public insurance system. If fully funded and implemented effectively, these public systems can provide as good as, and in some cases even more efficient than the employment-based system.

This report concludes by addressing specific policy prescriptions that can help ameliorate these problems.