UC Berkeley, UCLA Study Finds New California Health Care Policies Keep Uninsured from Growing, Improve Affordability for 1.55 Million

A recent report by the UC Berkeley Labor Center and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research projects California’s recently passed health care policies will both lower the prices in the individual insurance market and keep steady the number of uninsured in California. The report, “California’s Steps to Expand Health Coverage and Improve Affordability: Who Gains and Who Will Be Uninsured?” determined the state’s policies will have prevented 770,000 Californians from becoming uninsured and reduced premiums for 1.55 million Californians, providing a net benefit to a total of 2.2 million Californians.

Recall, the California Legislature in 2019 took steps to build upon the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by providing additional state subsidies in the individual market, expand Medi-Cal coverage to low-income undocumented young adults, and institute a state individual mandate to replace the federal penalty previously eliminated by Congress.

Researchers at UC Berkeley and UCLA utilized CalSIM to determine the impact of the new policies, finding that without them, prices in the individual market would be higher and the number of uninsured in California would have grown to 4.3 million by 2022. However, with the policies in place, researchers project California’s uninsured would remain stable at 3.5 million, 770,000 would gain or retain coverage, 750,000 would pay lower premiums, and another 800,000 would receive state subsidies, including 120,000 middle income Californians ineligible for federal subsidies. Among the 3.5 million who are projected to remain uninsured, undocumented Californians remain the largest share.

The full UC Berkeley/UCLA report is available here.