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Who can participate in the California health benefit exchange? A profile of subsidy-eligible uninsured and individually insured.

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UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, California, USA.


About 1.71 million nonelderly Californians were uninsured for all or part of 2009 and are estimated to be eligible to participate and receive subsidies in the new California Health Benefit Exchange marketplace under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010. Another 737,000 are currently insured with individual policies and will also be eligible for participation in the Exchange based on their employment, income and citizenship status. This policy brief examines the characteristics of these Exchange-eligible with subsidies groups, based on 2009 California Health Interview Survey data. Among the findings, these Exchange-eligible populations are often single, young working-age adults, and are employed in small firms. Most are healthy and the prevalence rates of most chronic conditions are similar to those with employment-based insurance. However, several indicators show poorer access to care for those who are uninsured. The characteristics of the Exchange-eligible with subsidies are likely to change by 2014 when the major provisions of the ACA are implemented. Nevertheless, these data indicate that the California Health Benefit Exchange is likely to improve access to care for the uninsured, and has the potential to improve coverage and access to care of those with individual policies.

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