Since 2008, United Way has been working on a national 10-year goal: to increase by one-third the number of youth and adults who are healthy and avoid risky behaviors.
United Ways of California (UWCA) has been working to fulfill that goal by:
Ensuring Effective Implementation of the Affordable Care Act
Increasing Access to Health Coverage and Care for All Children
Pursuing Horizontal Integration of Health and Human Service Programs
Encouraging Choices that Prevent Disease and Promote Wellness
California has over 6.1 million uninsured residents, the highest number in the United States.1 With the new coverage options afforded by the ACA, projections indicate that by 2018, as many as 1.6 million Californians will enroll in Medi-Cal, and about 2 million will enroll in Covered California (California’s health benefit exchange) plans.2UWCA is working to make sure that our communities understand their options and that enrollment processes work well for California’s diverse populations.
In 2013, United Ways of California received a grant from Covered California to support outreach and education efforts that inform our communities about their new coverage options.
California has the second highest number of uninsured children in the nation with over 831,000 youth under age 19 lacking coverage.3 UWCA works to identify opportunities to ensure that all children, including those who are undocumented, have access to coverage and care. We work as part of coalition of children’s health advocates to ensure children and their parents have access to the preventive care they need to stay well, and coverage for when they get sick.
United Ways understand that, unless they are ill, individuals and families seek more basic survival services first – such as income support (CalWORKs), food (CalFresh), shelter, jobs, transportation, and childcare. However, a network of integrated services can be much more effective in helping families that are struggling. UWCA advocates for policies that integrate enrollment and administration of most public health and human services programs. We are a leader in the discussion with the relevant state agencies to incorporate more benefits into the system that has been created to handle health program enrollment under the ACA.
Investments in proven community-based programs and policies to increase physical activity and improve nutrition can yield a healthier population and significant savings to the state’s health care costs. UWCA serves on The California Endowment’s Health Happens Here Prevention advisory group along with American Heart Association, American Lung Association, CPHEN, Kaiser Foundation, and the Public Health Institute. The purpose is to make sure new coverage options are implemented and that community and individual prevention strategies are not overlooked.
To learn more about health policy issues:
To learn more about options for health coverage in California or to apply for coverage:
1. 2011 Small Area Health Insurance Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/did/www/sahie/. Accessed September 11, 2013.
3. 2011 Small Area Health Insurance Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/did/www/sahie/. Accessed September 11, 2013.