SANTA MONICA, CA – Today, The Children’s Partnership released a comprehensive report assessing the state of children’s health coverage and care in California. “The Affordable Care Act and Children’s Coverage in California: Our Progress and Our Future” details the accomplishments in health care reform and their impact on children in California made over the past six years since the signing of the Affordable Care Act. Accompanying action agendas highlight opportunities at the state and federal level to improve coverage and care for children.
“We are at a unique turning point in health care for children in California. With more children eligible for coverage than ever before, we are so close to crossing the finish line of 100 percent coverage for children,” said Mayra E. Alvarez, President of The Children’s Partnership. “As we look to the future, we must not turn back the clock on the important progress we have made for children. Improving access to coverage and care for children helps them live healthy and learn today and become healthy and productive adults tomorrow.”
The report details five main areas of health care that impact families: coverage, affordability, enrollment, outreach, and care. The report’s recommendations include:
- Increase the number of providers serving Medi-Cal children through targeted innovative delivery system reforms.
- Define the required “pediatric services” category of the Essential Health Benefits package.
- Pursue a state fix to the “Family Glitch” until there is a federal remedy to fill gaps in coverage for families.
- Support families’ and individuals’ ability to afford health coverage and care by lowering the cap on Covered California plans’ overall out-of-pocket costs.
- Ensure a smooth enrollment process for all undocumented immigrant children into full-scope Medi-Cal.
- Invest further in culturally competent, targeted, in-person assistance to reach underserved populations.
- Explore integration of health care literacy in existing educational venues for children and their families.
Over 5.7 million children in California are enrolled in either Medi-Cal or Covered California—more than half of all children in the state. Overall, the rate of uninsured Californians dropped from nearly 15 percent in 2009 to just under 12 percent in 2014. For children, the uninsured rate dropped from 5.7 percent to 4.5 percent during the same period.
“Children are not always a subject of inquiry when evaluating if our health care systems are working; we wanted to change that,” said Kristen Golden Testa, Director of the California Health Program at The Children’s Partnership. “Our report found that children benefited from the Affordable Care Act’s enrollment sim¬plifications, free preventive services, mandated essen¬tial pediatric health benefits, and more. What is also clear is that the foundation of coverage for California children is the Medi-Cal program, and it’s critically impor¬tant we continue to strengthen this vital coverage option.”
Read the full report and download the action agendas atwww.childrenspartnership.org/childrenandtheaca.