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Many Texans struggling to pay for health service as Affordable Care Act is about to launch
Date:2/19/2014

day's HRMS-Texas report is the first in a series on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in the state and examines the experiences of insured and uninsured Texans in obtaining and paying for health care services immediately before the opening of the Health Insurance Marketplace in October 2013.

The HRMS-Texas data show that prior to the opening of the Health Insurance Marketplace, Texans needed more affordable care. When insured and uninsured Texans were asked about their ability to pay for health services in the preceding year, both groups reported gaps in affordability, with 23.1 percent of insured people reporting trouble paying medical bills and 34.7 percent of uninsured reporting trouble.

Although Texas has the highest rate of uninsured residents in the United States (according to the 2012 U.S. census, 27 percent of nonelderly Texans were uninsured), three-quarters of those surveyed had health insurance in September 2013. Following national trends, the majority of respondents (56.2 percent) were covered by employer-sponsored insurance, including public and private employers and the military and the Veterans Affairs. Almost 9 percent were covered by public insurance (primarily Medicaid or Medicare), and 10.3 percent had purchased health plans through the individual insurance market.

Texans were generally satisfied with the quality of their health plans but were not satisfied with the cost, the survey found. Texans who purchased individual insurance plans reported the greatest dissatisfaction with their health plans, especially regarding the cost of premiums and copays. They also reported the most dissatisfaction of any group with the quality of available care and their protection against high medical bills. A goal of the Health Insurance Marketplace is to provide these people with access to the same quality plans as those offered by employers at more affordable prices than were available in the pre-ACA insurance market.


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Contact: Jeff Falk
jfalk@rice.edu
713-348-6775
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert

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