Two new policy briefs from the University of California Los Angeles Center for Health Policy use the latest data from the 2009 California Health Interview Survey to estimate that, under the implementation of national health care reform in 2014, 2.1 million uninsured Californians will be eligible to enroll in the expanded MediCal program (California’s Medicaid program) and another 1.7 million uninsured Californians will be eligible to enroll in health insurance plans offered by the California Health Benefit Exchange (California’s state health insurance exchange).
These latest data estimate that among the currently uninsured that will become eligible for an expanded MediCal, 70% will be from communities of color and 23% do not speak English well or very well. [This English language proficiency data is different than most reports, which report those who do not speak English “very well” as limited English proficient; the percentage considered limited English proficient would be higher.] Among the currently uninsured eligible for health insurance through the state health insurance exchange, 66% will be from communities of color and 21% do not speak English well or very well. This level of detailed, updated data is available for California because the CHIS collects data from Californians about race and ethnicity, English language proficiency, current health insurance coverage, income and citizenship/immigration status not generally available from national surveys or data sources.