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Health Coverage Expansion in California: What Can Consumers Afford to Spend?

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Publication Date: September 2007

Publisher(s): UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

Author(s): Dylan H. Roby; Korey Capozza; Ken Jacobs; Gerald F. Kominski

Funder(s): California Endowment

Funder(s): California Endowment

Topic: Health (Health care financing)
Health (Health services for low income people)

Keywords: California; medical expenses; insurance

Type: Brief

Coverage: California


This research brief, jointly authored by the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, finds that many California families spend a substantial amount of their annual income on health care premiums and out-of-pockets costs, and could face financially devastating medical expenses if they are not adequately protected. The report recommends that reasonable limits be placed on cost-sharing and premiums in order to allow families from all income levels to afford health care coverage.

This study uses current proposals from Governor Schwarzenegger (GHCP) and Assemblyman Nunez and Senator Perata (AB8) and provides insight into how much Californians can afford to pay for health care by estimating how much they currently pay for health care in relation to their family income. This analysis uses data from the federal Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to examine health expenditures for families from different income groups within the state that are likely to be effected differently by reform efforts. In addition, the study examines the differences in spending due to employment-based insurance coverage versus coverage purchased on the individual insurance market.