In an attempt to cope with a less robust economy, small businesses are cutting corners when it comes to providing health care benefits to their employees. Some employees have to find other means, such as getting an individual California health insurance plan, because having health care coverage is too important to skip.
According to a recent report released by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, hundreds of thousands of Californians lost their employer-provided health insurance plans. They were laid off from work because of the recession or employers just stopped offering health benefits to their employees because of financial hardship.
However, the most alarming finding of the report resulting from the recession is the number of Californians facing medical debt significantly increased.
Increase In Medical Debt Noted
As stated in the new State of Health Insurance in California report, it showed from 2007 until 2009 there was an increase of 400,000 non-elderly Californians who faced some form of medical debt.
The report also showed that medical debt was highest among those without consistent California health insurance. For those uninsured all of the year, 18.4 percent experienced medical debt. Among those uninsured for part of the year, 23.2 percent faced medical debt. The report also added that even those with employer-provided California health insurance plans (9.1 percent) had their share of medical debt.
Shana Alex Lavarreda, lead author of the report and director of health insurance studies at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, said that No Californian should have to take on debt to pay medical bills or go without access to health care just because they lost their job.
What Are The Other Findings Of The Report Regarding CA Health Insurance?
Aside from the awareness that there is a rise in the number of Californians facing medical debt, the report also revealed that about half of those who have medical debt reported the amount to be less than $2,000. Based on this finding, Lavarreda said that Californians are living on a very hin margin since they don't even have $2,000 to pay their medical bill.
Among Medi-Cal enrollees, 18.2 percent had medical debt. This is really alarming because Medi-Cal is a program intended to provide comprehensive healthcare for low income individuals. For Lavarreda, this indicates that the program may not be covering all healthcare needs of the enrollee. The medical debt might have arisen from certain exclusions in coverage or the doctors accepting Medi-Cal are decreasing.
Although there are people who rely on high-deductible California health insurance plans to get lower premiums than co-pay plans, these plans are really risky because you need to pay off that high deductible before your health coverage begins. If you get into an accident, having a high-deductible plan might just push you further into medical debt. That is why some people combine their HDHPs with a Health Savings Account or add low-cost accident insurance.
People Might Find Hope From The Affordable Care Act
According to the report, the passage of the Affordable Care Act by the Obama administration has had positive effects on the uninsured population of California. As stated by Robert K. Ross, CEO and President of The California Endowment, through the health care reform law, millions of Californians will get health coverage without having to fear undergoing a potential health catastrophe.
By Wiley Long - President, eCAHealthinsurance ( http://www.eCAHealthinsurance.com ) - Health Insurance Advisors in California - Offering online information on health insurance plans in California, instant quotes on California Health Insurance plans, and personal assistance for all your California Health Insurance needs.