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Californians Say Health Care is Improving, New Poll Finds

Two years into the pandemic, more Californians feel positive about quality of care; Workplace safety and access to providers of color are still concerns
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OAKLAND, Calif., (June 8, 2022) – An increasing number of Californians are feeling positive about health care, even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, according to a new poll commissioned by Blue Shield of California. The poll of 1,000 Californians was conducted in February of this year.

The second annual Blue Shield of California/Harris Poll, known as Vital Signs, found that when it comes to the health care they have received, the vast majority of adults in California (86%) rate the quality of care as good — an increase from last year’s findings (80%). Nearly three in five respondents (59%) said they have an easy time accessing health care, with 30% of overall respondents saying they had a “very” easy time.

Access gaps are closing, with nearly half of respondents (48%) saying COVID-19 made accessing care more difficult for low-income earners — down from 62% who felt that way a year earlier. Fewer African-American respondents, 15%, said the health care they receive now is poor, compared to last year when 28% felt that way. 

The number of people who said they, or someone in their family, delayed medical treatment for something other than COVID-19 fell to 36% from 40% a year ago. Additionally, 36% said they used telehealth for the first time during the pandemic, about the same as 2021. 

“We see some positive news in the poll data, but we also see opportunities for improvement for our healthcare system,” said Peter Long, Ph.D., executive vice president of Strategy and Health Solutions at Blue Shield of California. “That’s why we launched our Health Reimagined initiative in 2020, and also leaned in to help the State of California’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts last year with equity and fairness as guiding principles. We are committed to helping improve health care access, lower costs, and accelerate the digital transformation that is needed to create a healthcare system worthy of our family and friends that’s sustainably affordable.”

Here is a snapshot of additional survey results:

  • Nearly half of Californians (49%) who have ever sought professional help for mental health did so for the first time during the pandemic. Roughly one in five Californians (22%) said their mental health worsened during the pandemic.
  • Though most Californians gave good grades to their employers for keeping employees (75%) and customers (80%) safe, 49% said employers need to do more, and 43% said they will never feel safe in public again.
  • When it comes to provider access, 39% of African Americans, 38% of Asian Americans, and 36% of Hispanics said having a physician or specialist of their same race/ethnicity was important versus 17% of whites.However, just 32% of Asian Americans, 39% of Hispanics, and 50% of African Americans felt it was easy to find providers of their race/ethnicity. 

To download the report, click here.


About the survey

Vital Signs is the second annual Blue Shield of California/Harris Poll. The survey was conducted online in the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Blue Shield of California between February 9 and 21, 2022 among 1,009 residents of California age 18+. The poll includes a broad swath of general public in California – privately insured, uninsured, MediCal recipients, self-insured and more. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Blue Shield of California.


About Blue Shield of California

Blue Shield of California strives to create a healthcare system worthy of its family and friends that is sustainably affordable. Blue Shield of California is a tax-paying, nonprofit, independent member of the Blue Shield Association with 4.7 million members, 7,800 employees, and $22.9 billion in annual revenue. Founded in 1939 in San Francisco and now headquartered in Oakland, Blue Shield of California and its affiliates provide health, dental, vision, Medicaid, and Medicare healthcare service plans in California. The company has contributed $120 million to Blue Shield of California Foundation in the last three years to have an impact on California communities. 

For more news about Blue Shield of California, please visit

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