Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) released a new report indicating a dramatic decline in the percentage of adults 18 to 64 years of age in the county without health insurance, from 28.5% (1.7 million adults) in 2011 to 11.7% (750,000 adults) in 2015. The large decline was seen in both men and women, all racial and ethnic groups, all age groups, and all geographic areas of the county. A slight decline was also seen among children less than 18 years of age, from 5.0% in 2011 to 3.4% in 2015, continuing a steady decline since 2002 when 10.1% of children lacked health insurance.
“These statistics represent great news for the county,” said, Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “We know that having health insurance coverage is an essential step in ensuring people get the medical care they need, including access to preventive services.”
Despite the favorable trends, large disparities in uninsured persist in the county. The percentage of adults who were uninsured in 2015 was more than three times higher in the South and East Service Planning Areas of Los Angeles County (17.8% and 15.2%, respectively) than in the West Service Planning Area (4.7%). The percentage of uninsured was also higher among Latino adults (17.3%) than among Asian (7.3%), white (6.4%), and African-American (6.1%) adults. Among Latinos, the percentage uninsured was higher among Latinos living below the federal poverty level (21.1%) and between 100%-199% of the federal poverty level (22.6%), than among those living at 200% or above the federal poverty level (7.7%).
The decline in uninsured in the county is consistent with trends reported in California and nationally, and occurred during the time when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was being implemented. In California, this implementation included expansion of Medi-Cal to cover previously ineligible adults with incomes below 138% of the federal poverty level, and private insurance options through Covered California for individuals and families with higher incomes.
“This report shows that we should be working to extend the benefits of the ACA, not to repeal it,” said Mitchell Katz, MD, Director of Los Angeles County Health Agency.
Read the report “Recent Trends in Health Insurance Coverage” at: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/ha.
About Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of over 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health comprises nearly 4,000 employees and has an annual budget exceeding $900 million. To learn more about the Department of Public Health and the work we do, please visit PublicHealth.LACounty.gov.