CSAC Bulletin Article

PPIC Report: County Jails as Enrollment Sites for Expanding Health Coverage

May 12, 2016

The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) recently released a report Expanding Health Coverage in California: County Jails as Enrollment Sites. The report takes a look at millions of state residents who continue to lack full health coverage, those who remain uninsured and those who may be difficult to enroll in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) program. PPIC found that uninsured rates are highest for young men and for those with low levels of education, income, and employment.

These same characteristics are prevalent among state and local correctional populations suggesting that the justice system may offer points of contact for many hard to reach uninsured individuals. Outreach and enrollment efforts aimed at local jail populations are set within the policy context of California’s 2011 Public Safety Realignment, which created incentives and resources for county jails to promote positive reentry outcomes.

Nearly all counties are establishing programs to provide ACA enrollment assistance to jail inmates thus improving reentry results. Because resources and capacity are limited, it is necessary to identify effective models that maximize the potential of county jails as sites of insurance enrollment.

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