Creating True Peace of Mind for Families with Affordable Health Coverage

by Mayra E. Alvarez

Health coverage offers families more than the chance to be physically healthy. It also helps to provide financial security. With health insurance comes a sense that you are protected in the case of an unexpected illness or a serious accident. It brings the security of knowing that if something goes wrong with your health or that of your loved ones, you have insurance to help pay the bill.

Today, health insurance is more affordable for millions of Californians. In 2015, 90 percent of Californians received financial assistance in paying for premiums for coverage through Covered California; one in three Californians is enrolled in free or low-cost Medi-Cal. For many, such opportunities have made a world of difference. For other families, having insurance is not enough to remove significant cost barriers, including unaffordable co-payments and deductibles, which prevent them from getting the health care needed to keep their families healthy.

While the proportion of uninsured Californians reporting cost as the reason for lacking coverage fell from 53 percent to 43 percent in 2014, lack of affordability remains the most common reason cited for going without insurance in California. Among people with health insurance, one in five working-age Americans reported having problems paying medical bills in the past year. As a result of these high medical costs, families often end up facing serious financial challenges and may have to face unexpected changes in employment and lifestyle. When insured individuals received medical bills, three-quarters said that the amount they had to pay for their insurance co-payments, deductibles, or coinsurance was more than they could afford. As ACA implementation moves forward, ensuring coverage is affordable for children and their families remains critical to supporting families and creating true peace of mind.

As we live each day, no one ever plans to get sick or hurt, but, inevitably, most people will need medical care at some point in their lives. Health insurance helps cover the cost of the care we need and offers many other important benefits to help us stay healthy. Knowing we are protected is critical to both our physical health and mental health, and it provides that true peace of mind.

Read more about ways coverage can be more affordable in our new report, “The Affordable Care Act and Children’s Coverage in California: Our Progress and Our Future.”

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