Nearly a tenth of the California population have health insurance plans that actually make them spend more on their own for medical treatment, ULCA Center for Health Policy Research said in a report.

Around 3 million Californians, nearly a tenth of the state's 32 million insured people have bought low premium health plans that can potentially put wreak their financial situation if a hospitalization occurs. The health plans can impose deductibles of more than $ 5000, said the report - Profiling California's Health Plan Enrollees. The report released on Wednesday was based on a health survey done in 2007.

According to the report, high-deductible plans are often the only insurance plans low-income families and self-employed can afford. This also leads to many people reluctant to take medical care.

"Many Californians can't afford higher-premium plans, especially in the current economic climate," said the report's lead author, Dylan Roby, a research scientist with the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. "But the alternative — high-deductible plans — may cost less initially but can cost thousands of dollars when you need health care. When that much money is on the line, a health emergency can also become a financial emergency."

The study suggested lowering the deductibles for low-income residents and people without insurance benefit from their employers.

Consumers need information to choose the right coverage so they receive the care when needed, not just when they can afford it," said Sandra Perez, director of the California Office of the Patient Advocate.