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According to a report issued by the Kaiser Family Foundation on Thursday, 70 percent of the Californians that didn’t have a health insurance plan before Obamacare was enacted now benefit from health insurance coverage.
But the report also shows that many of those that are currently insured face real challenges when they seek access to care or they want to pay for their insurance plan. The challenges are common both to Californians that received insurance through the state-run health insurance exchange and those benefiting from health care coverage through Medi-Cal, a state-run program aimed at the poor and disabled.
California’s Consumer Watchdog experts said that despite the optimistic numbers in the report, there was a long way toward making health care affordable to Californians. The group reported that 50 percent of the newly insured said that they found health care quite expensive for their pockets.
Yet, health care analysts were more optimistic and tended to focus more on the financial security provided through federal subsidies and broader access to health care.
Mollyann Brodie, spokesperson and head of the survey research at Kaiser Family Foundation, said that she was surprised to learn that the numbers of those insured went up so much in just a little time. She assumed that that may be related to a sense of financial and health security in people that were previously uninsured.
The recent report is the third in a series designed to asses what the outcomes of the Obama health law are in the lives of the previously uninsured Californians. In the last two years, 1.3 million people purchased in a health insurance plan through Covered California, while 4 million more received coverage through Medi-Cal.
Nevertheless, both the state-run exchange and Medi-Cal need to be improved as too many patients reported that their access to care is severely limited by the lack of health care providers and hospitals. Additionally, doctors are not tempted to register with Medi-Cal because the program offers some of the lowest reimbursements in the U.S. So, low-income and disabled patients many times lack access to a physician when they need one. And the more enrollees are the worst the situation can get.
For instance, several enrollees reported that it requires at least one month to finally get an appointment to a doctor registered with the Medi-Cal.
But Kaiser Family Foundation experts found that 83 percent of Medi-Cal oatients are “mostly satisfied” with the services they get. And so are more than 60 percent of enrollees who received insurance through the state health insurance exchange.
Image Source: Reuters
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