As was the case with the rest of the country, there was a big surge in December.
Texas enrollments in the online insurance marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act rose nearly eightfold in December, according to 2013 figures that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released Monday.
Texas ranks third in the number of 2013 enrollments following the troubled launch of healthcare.gov on Oct. 1. As of Dec. 28, nearly 120,000 Texans had purchased coverage in the federal marketplace, up from 14,000 one month before.
The number represents a tiny fraction of the uninsured in Texas, which has a higher percentage of people without health coverage than any other state. In 2012, more than 6 million Texans, about 24 percent of the population, lacked health insurance, according to U.S. census data.
Florida led the nation in the number of 2013 enrollments, with 158,000. In a media call from Tampa, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius praised Florida’s high enrollment numbers. Like Texas, Florida has a largely unfavorable political climate toward the Affordable Care Act, and a high rate of the uninsured, at 21 percent. HHS officials offered no explanation for why more people enrolled in some states compared with others.
“The numbers show that there is a very strong national demand for affordable health care made possible by the Affordable Care Act,” Sebelius said in the call announcing the enrollment data, adding that nationwide enrollment had reached nearly 2.2 million.
The Better Texas Blog breaks the numbers down further.
- 457,382 individual Texans applied for coverage with completed applications, revealing a high level of interest in Marketplace coverage;
- 390,658 Texans were determined eligible to enroll in a Marketplace plan, and 180,349 Texans were found eligible for financial assistance in the Marketplace. Many of the 210,000 Texans who are eligible to buy in the Marketplace, but ineligible for subsidies likely fall into the “coverage gap” created when Texas leaders refused federal funds to expand health care coverage through Medicaid to Texas adults below the poverty line;
- 47,177 Texans were assessed eligible Medicaid/CHIP by the Marketplace (a number that would be much higher with Medicaid expansion);
- 55 percent of Texans who chose a health plan are women; and
- 26 percent are between the ages of 18 and 34. Young adults are enrolling in the Marketplace, and previous experience from Massachusetts indicates that enrollment by this age group will increase as we near the March 31 enrollment deadline.
These numbers prove that the law and its website are working–more Texans are able to apply for and select health plans that fit their budgets. (Read about our intern’s experience enrolling in a Marketplace plan). People can enroll in the Marketplace through March 31, 2014.
There’s still a lot more growth to come, in other words. Progress Texas adds on.
Ed Espinoza, Executive Director of Progress Texas, released the following statement:
Twelve weeks of ACA has done more to help Texans without health care than Rick Perry has done in twelve years as Governor.
…Texas Still Has a Significant Coverage Gap
In addition to the top-line numbers, a little digging shows how Rick Perry and Greg Abbott’s refusal to expand Medicaid has created a significant coverage gap in Texas:
- 210,309 Texans who applied for coverage could have received financial assistance for the Marketplace plans.
Many, if not most, of those 210,000+ Texans who couldn’t get financial assistance would have been covered if Texas had expanded Medicaid. We know that one million low-income Texans are left out of health coverage because elected leaders in Texas chose politics over what was right for our people.
Just imagine how many more people could be getting coverage if Rick Perry wasn’t doing everything in his power to stand in the way. Several Texas Congressional Democrats have now sent a letter to AG Eric Holder asking him to step in and do something about Texas’ ridiculous navigator rules, but I don’t really expect anything to come of that. For more on the national numbers, see Jonathan Cohn, TPM, Sarah Kliff, and Ezra Klein.