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Medicare in California

By the numbers

It is probably no surprise that California, the state with the highest population, also has the most Medicare beneficiaries. The Medicare program in California also spends more than any other state. However, California's growth in spending per beneficiary is less than the national average.

  • Number of Medicare beneficiaries in California: 5,000,198
  • Amount Medicare in California spends each year (in millions): $50,604
  • Amount Medicare in California spends per beneficiary (on average) - $10,954
  • Percentage of growth in Medicare spending per beneficiary in California (on average): 6%
  • Beneficiaries enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan in California: 1,809,812
  • California beneficiaries eligible for prescription drug coverage: 4,669,125

Medicare Advantage Organizations and Prescription Drug Plan Sponsors must have a contract with Medicare in order to sell Medicare insurance plans (such as a Medicare HMO or a Medicare Part D Plan. Depending on the terms of the contract between the plan and Medicare, not every plan is available statewide or in all service areas. Each year, the plan must renew their contract with Medicare, so the availability of a plan in a specific service area is subject to change as a result of the annual contract renewal.

Medicare resources in California

Because California is home to so many beneficiaries, there are many Medicare resources that provide free, unbiased information and assistance.

California Medicare Savings Programs: Depending on your income, you may qualify for help paying your Medicare Part A or Part B premiums. There are also programs that help pay for some of your prescription costs. Your income has to be below a certain limit to qualify.

California State Health Insurance and Assistance Program (SHIP): SHIP is a federal grant that provides funding to each state to help create programs to assist beneficiaries in better understanding Medicare. In California, the SHIP grant supports the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP). HICAP offers one-on-one counseling for Medicare beneficiaries in California. HICAP also provides information on Medicare plans, benefits, and prescription drug plans in California.

How healthy is California?

California is the most populous state and is ranked as the 24th healthiest state in the United States. California's strength as a healthy state is helped by its low prevalence of smoking as well as its high use of early prenatal care. Two challenges facing California face are its large uninsured population as well as its low immunization coverage.

All data provided by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.