Photo via Wikimedia Commons.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

The number of Californians aged 19 to 64 without health insurance declined by more than 15 percent from 2013 to 2014, according to survey data released Tuesday by UCLA.

The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research survey showed that more than 655,000 people gained insurance after full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare.

Medi-Cal enrollment for the same age group rose from 12.9 percent to 19.2 percent in 2014. The uninsured rate dropped from 20.6 percent to 17.4 percent during the same time period, making it the first time that the percentage of those receiving Medi-Cal exceeded the number of people without insurance.

“The number of people without insurance, especially among low-income families and the middle class, is going in the right direction — down,” said Ninez Ponce, associate director of the center. “But with 4.5 million still uninsured in our state, our job is not over yet.”

The data was provided as part of a broad release of comprehensive health information by the California Health Interview Survey.

Beginning this year, CHIS plans to release data annually, rather than every two years, to give researchers more flexibility.

Other trends revealed by the survey included:

— roughly 10 percent of teens reported smoking e-cigarettes or vaping;

— almost 12 percent of adults ages 18 and older smoke, but seven in 10 of those have thought about quitting in the next six months;

— nearly nine out of 10 adolescents polled said they felt they can make a difference in their community; and

— birth control pills remain the most popular method of family planning, with more than 56 percent of women ages 18 to 44 who receive birth control using the pill.

— Wire reports 

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