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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Single Mothers in California: Understanding Their Health Insurance Coverage


This policy brief examines the health insurance coverage of single mothers in California, addressing the factors affecting their coverage, as well as changes in coverage between 1994-95 and 1998-99. The descriptive data for this study were obtained from analyses of the 1995, 1996, 1999 and 2000 March Current Population Surveys. The findings in this study illustrate the disadvantage that many single mothers in California experience in their access to heath insurance coverage. Nearly one in three (28%) single mothers is uninsured. Single mothers have experienced changes recently in their health insurance coverage, including a decline in Medi-Cal, an important source of coverage. Though many single mothers work, they have low rates of job-based coverage. Expanding Healthy Families to include parents, adding incentives for employers to offer job-based coverage and better supporting safety-net providers are among the actions needed to maintain and improve coverage and access to care for single mothers.

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