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California kids may face triple whammy, leading to more uninsured

After years of seeing decreasing numbers of uninsured children, California is poised to go the other direction.

For years, child enrollment in private health insurance plans decreased as companies scaled back on health care costs by increasing employees’ share of the premiums or by stopping dependent coverage altogether.

But those declines were offset by increased enrollment in public programs. Recognizing that half the uninsured children already qualified for Medi-Cal (California’s version of Medicaid), and Healthy families (the
state’s SCHIP program), school districts and advocates focused efforts on finding and enrolling those children.

But now, things aren’t looking so rosy. State and county budgets constraints threaten to erode the children’s enrollment gains in
Medi-Cal, Healthy Families  and Healthy
Kids programs, county-organized health plans.

"Come next spring, you could have a double or triple whammy of kids
losing health coverage," said Joel Diringer, a consultant who helped
many California counties create the local programs.

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