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PNHP RESOURCES

The State of Health Insurance in California: Recent Trends, Future Prospects

UCLA Center for Health Policy Research
March 2001

by E. Richard Brown, PhD, Ninez Ponce, PhD, & Thomas Rice, PhD

"The state's strong economic growth has enabled more families and individuals to obtain job-based insurance, resulting in a lower uninsured rate for the first time in several years. But the future prospects for this trend continuing seem uncertain at best. The economy
appears to be cooling, accelerated in California by the energy crisis - a trend that may be undermining the major factor in the state's recently expanding coverage. And there is clear evidence that health insurance premiums are going to rise by double digits in 2001, making health insurance coverage less affordable at the very time when the labor
market is likely to slacken. When the economy does contract and health insurance costs rise, more Californians will almost certainly become uninsured."

"In the longer run, California and the nation need to extend to all residents affordable coverage that provides good access to high quality health care that enhances people's health. Although there are costs to ensuring that all residents have coverage, there are great costs associated with a large portion of our population remaining uninsured - lost earnings, lost school days, lost potential, and lost life."

The full report is available at:
http://www.healthpolicy.ucla.edu/FullReport.html