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Number of people with California health insurance to fall over next half decade

The falling uninsured rates trend in the state is expected to make a U-turn due to ACA changes.

Up to 800,000 fewer people will have a California health insurance plan in 2023, according to recent research estimates. Changes made to the Affordable Care Act have reduced the incentive to purchase coverage. This will reverse an improvement trend in coverage rates that has extended over many years.

The Affordable Care Act had been steadily reducing the number of uninsured Californians.

Recent changes to official policy would remove the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which is phasing out in 2019. The researchers from the U.C. Berkeley Labor Center and the U.C.L.A. Center for Health Policy Research projected that the uninsured rate in the state would rise to 4.4 million in 2023 unless state officials change the Californian law. That figure would raise the number of people without California health insurance from 10.4 percent of the population up to 12.9 percent of the population in a matter of five years.

As the number of uninsured patients rise, it will require hospitals to have to absorb costs no longer paid for by insurance plans when those patients seek emergency care but aren’t able to cover the bill. The researchers said that the lack of tax penalty for failing to purchase health insurance coverage means many people will no longer buy it. Congress repealed the A.C.A.’s individual mandate as a component of a late 2017 tax bill.

The rise in the number of people without California health insurance could cause state-level changes.

The federal changes are more than likely to take effect in California unless state legislators take action to implement state-level policies comparable to the individual mandate. This would provide state-funded financial assistance to residents with low household incomes and who need assistance to pay the premiums for their health plans. It may also involve expanding Medi-Cal in order to include undocumented adults, said the researchers’ reports.

California health insurance - Heart monitor

State legislators have been considering Proposals such as those discussed in the report within the most recent legislative session. That said, none of the California health insurance proposals have passed, said a San Francisco Chronicle article.

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