Press Kit

Health Care 101

The California Association of Health Plans (CAHP) is proud to play a role in statewide efforts to improve our health care system so that all Californians can benefit. The public and private health care plans represented by CAHP serve 26 million Californians. The association is committed to improving the health of California's communities by promoting the growth of health plans dedicated to providing high-quality, affordable and accessible health care to their members.

Californians and Health Insurance

In California, 26 million people have health care coverage and another 3 million are uninsured. Most Californians get health insurance through their employers or organizations to which they belong. This is called employer-based or group insurance. The employers purchase insurance through plans such as those offered by members of CAHP and offer the coverage to their employees. Employees usually pay a portion of the costs.

More than 35 percent of Californians get health insurance through government programs that operate at the national, state and local levels. Examples include Healthy Families, Medicare, Medi-Cal and programs run by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense.

For Californians who don't have access to either group insurance or government programs, there is individual health insurance. They can purchase this insurance directly from an insurance company.

Those Californians who do have coverage have health care coverage. The table below shows the numerical breakdown for the types of coverage Californians have. (Note: Details may not add to totals because individuals may receive coverage from more than one source.)

Type Percentage %
Employer or Group-Based 50%
Individual 8%
Medicaid 25%
Medicare 11%
Military Program 1%

Health Insurance Protects Families

The purpose of health insurance is to help pay for medical care. People cannot predict what their medical bills will be in the future. In some years, the consumer may have low medical expenses. In other years, medical bills can be very large. With health insurance, consumers and their families are protected financially in the event of an unexpected serious illness or injury.

Consumers with health insurance also are more likely to have a regular doctor and more likely to get preventative medical care. As a result, they are likely to be healthier, which means they can enjoy a better quality of life and avoid major medical costs that can occur by waiting until they become seriously ill to seek care.