4 Cities Lacking California Health Insurance

affordable health insurance

Maintaining health insurance has been a struggle for cities across the country, according to new data released by Gallup and Healthways. But while the overall number of Americans with coverage has improved slightly, four California metropolitan areas are among those examined where residents struggle to access affordable health care and have the lowest percentages of coverage in the nation.

California Health Insurance Coverage Lacking

It appears that acquiring health insurance coverage is still an uphill battle in America. According to the Well-Being Index of 2012 released by Gallup and Healthways, approximately 83 percent of the U.S. population had some form of health insurance coverage in 2012.

While this represented the first year of improvement since the group began the study, coverage still remained lower than 85 percent in 2008.

When taking a closer look at metropolitan areas around the country, the study identified 10 areas that had the lowest rates of coverage — four of which were in California:

  • Stockton: Stockton came in at eighth on the list with only 71.6 percent of the population carrying California health insurance. Approximately 66.6 percent had a doctor, which was the eighth lowest in the nation, and only 81 percent had money for health care. As of Dec. 2012, 14.5 percent of residents were unemployed.
  • Salinas: Salinas was seventh on the list with 71.4 percent carrying coverage. The metro area had the 2nd lowest percentage of people with a doctor at 58.4 percent and only 77.8 percent had money for health care. As of Dec. 2012, the city’s unemployment rate was 13.1 percent.
  • Bakersfield: Bakersfield came in at sixth on the list with 70.8 percent of residents carrying California health insurance. Of the total population, 59.3 percent had a doctor and 75.9 percent had money for health care. At the end of last year, the unemployment rate for the city was 13.5 percent.
  • Visalia-Porterville: Ranking fourth, this metro area had the lowest percentage of residents insured among California cities with 69.3 percent. Only 64.1 percent had a doctor and 75.2 percent had money for health care. As of late 2012, 15.7 percent were unemployed.

The other cities with low rates of insurance listed in the study included Las Vegas-Paradise, Nevada (10th), Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas (9th), Naples-Marco Island, Florida (5th), El Paso, Texas (3rd), Yakima, Washington (2nd) and McAllen, Texas (1st).

Finding Affordable Health Care in California

The study revealed that some cities have lower percentages of residents with health insurance because they house job industries that may not be as likely to offer coverage. Also, the study found a correlation between a lack of coverage and unemployment.

For individuals in California and around the country struggling to acquire coverage, there are a number of ways to acquire affordable federal health insurance.

At the national level, Americans may be able to take advantage of Medicaid or Medicare coverage depending on age and financial circumstances. Other resources include Eldercare, Insure Kids Now! and Planned Parenthood.

When seeking California health insurance coverage, individuals and families may be able to take advantage of Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid program), California Health Families Program or the California Major Risk Health Insurance Program.

Also, it’s good to note that health insurance exchanges are cropping up across the country. These marketplaces for coverage are expected to offer affordable health care to Americans with the help of government subsidies.

(Image courtesy of ddpavumba / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)