ACA Prompts Record 2022 Enrollment in TX
Thursday, April 21, 2022
More than 1.8 million Texans signed up for health insurance this year under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), up 42% from 2021, providing more than 500,000 Texans with marketplace health coverage.
Shao-Chee Sim, vice president for research, innovation and evaluation at the Episcopal Health Foundation (EHF), said more Texans received federal financial assistance to pay their insurance premiums than ever before, which dropped the average policy price from $557 per month to $86.
"When there are more Texans having health insurance coverage, it will give them access to many preventative health services," Sim explained. "It's also kind-of giving them a sense of security; health insurance coverage that will cover most of their expenses."
He pointed out most people selected what are known as silver-level health plans, which means the insurance company pays 70% of covered expenses, and the patient pays the remaining 30%. Texas lawmakers have consistently opted not to expand Medicaid or create a similar program to cover the lowest-income Texans.
EHF research shows most people in the insurance marketplace are returning customers. Adults aged 55-64 make up the largest category of enrollees. Among them, 55% are women, and 12% live in rural parts of the state.
Despite the record ACA enrollment numbers, Texas remains the state with the highest uninsured rate in the nation and the most uninsured residents. To keep from backsliding, Sim thinks continued federal subsidies are needed.
"We hope that they will approve an extension of this federal subsidies beyond 2022," Sim stressed. "If not, I mean, the ACA marketplace is still around ... it's just that it may not be as affordable."
In his State of the Union address, President Joe Biden called on Congress to approve extending federal subsidies beyond this year. It also was part of his Build Back Better agenda, which passed in the U.S. House but stalled in the Senate.
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