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11% of children in California are uninsured, study says

Children in California are more likely to be uninsured than children nationwide, with 1.1 million lacking health coverage in 2011, according to a new study by the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

About 11% of children lacked insurance last year -- and they were less likely to seek medical care than those with coverage, the authors reported.

The study, released Wednesday by the California HealthCare Foundation, detailed children's insurance trends over a 10-year period. During that time, the percentage of children covered by their parents' employers dropped while the percentage of children in public programs increased. In 2011, 56% of the state's children had private coverage and 38% had public insurance. Some children were covered by both types of programs.

The authors noted, however, that enrollment in the state's main public insurance program for children has stalled over the last three years, which they attributed to budget cuts.

The insurance trends are expected to change in 2014, when the federal healthcare law takes effect. More children will be eligible for coverage either through Medi-Cal or the health benefits exchange, which will provide access to government-subsidized private insurance.

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-- Anna Gorman

 
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