California health insurance
A guide to finding affordable health insurance in the Golden State
How healthy is living in California? The Land of Milk and Honey is ranked 22nd in the United Health Foundation's 2012 comparison of health status across the 50 states.
The good news:
- California has a low infant mortality rate and a low percentage of babies born weighing less than 5½ pounds at birth.
- The rates of smoking, obesity, and sedentary lifestyle in California are all relatively low.
The bad news:
- The percentage of Californian children in poverty is 24 percent.
- Infectious disease is up dramatically, from 8.5 to 17.0 cases per 100,000 people.
- About 20 percent of Californians lack health insurance.
California's best and worst category rankings:
- Smoking – 2nd
- Sedentary Lifestyle – 3rd
- Occupational Fatalities – 3rd
- Infant Mortality – 3rd
- Lack of Health Insurance – 44th
- Infectious Disease – 46th
- Air Pollution – 50th
For more details see the United Health Foundation’s latest findings on California.
Trust for America’s Health is another source for key California health quality findings.
In addition, 2010’s federal health reform, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), included the creation of a prevention fund to provide more than $16 billion over the next 10 years to invest in effective, proven prevention efforts, like childhood obesity prevention and tobacco cessation, and the site has a report on how it impacts California here.
Get local health results
State snapshot too large? Get county-by-county health rankings for California, from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Population Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin.
Does California have
a health insurance high risk pool?
California Major Risk Medical Insurance Program
Toll-free 1-800-289-6574 or (916) 324-4695
IMPORTANT UPDATE: In 2010, California started offering health care insurance coverage to residents through the federally established temporary high-risk pool program. Learn about eligibility here.
Rapidly becoming obsolete as state health insurance exchanges prepare to open, risk pools were state-sponsored programs that helped people who could afford to buy health insurance, but were not able to get underwritten in the private market because of a pre-existing health condition.
Programs varied significantly from state to state in price, benefits and number of people served. Often insurance companies doing business in the state were required to contribute to the pool to keep it in the black.
In the best cases, they allowed people to be able to switch jobs or become self-employed without the fear of losing their health insurance coverage. Read more about risk pools here.