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Texas Health Insurance Remains Elusive For Too Many People

According to a survey by Gallup and Healthways, Texas has more people in need of health insurance than any other state. Last year, 26.8 percent of Texans needed a health plan and that deteriorated to 27.2 percent, or nearly 6.3 million Texans, in the first half of 2011. Since Gallup and Healthways started tracking uninsured rates in 2008, Texas has trailed the nation in managing health care costs.

You may have heard Texas Governor Rick Perry describing how his state has created 37 percent of the country’s new jobs since 2009, but have you heard him explain how Texans are paying for health care? People are known to dial 911 in emergencies. Ambulances still send paramedics and emergency rooms still treat people in critical condition. That’s the most expensive form of health care, yet it’s also the last resort for people who don’t have health insurance.

Would you be surprised if hospitals raised rates for services when they had a lot of unpaid accounts? Would you be surprised if insurance companies raised premiums when hospital charges got more expensive? Ambulances, emergency medical technicians and E.R. staff cost money and it’s unrealistic to think that unpaid charges are always written off as charity.

Texas Health Insurance Coverage Is Not Covered By Many Jobs

Part of the problem is that Texas has a high number of retail and service jobs, which are typically the industries least likely to cover employees with health care benefits. Texas can have a low unemployment rate, and still have too many working people who can’t afford Texas health insurance coverage.

According to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 71 percent of the uninsured in Texas are members of families that include someone who is working a full-time job. Almost 63 percent of uninsured Texans have a job that doesn’t provide health insurance. Texas officials tend to stick with the federally-mandated minimums for Medicaid so Texans are less likely to get help with health care through Medicaid in Texas than in certain other states.

Change Comes To Texas Health Insurance

When it comes to regulating TX health insurance rates, you won’t find a lot of state government enthusiasm, either. However, federal action has made a significant change in health insurance for Texas. You won’t see it in any plan you may have purchased prior to health care reform, but the plans that are now available have an important difference from older coverage. Even the least expensive Texas health insurance plans no longer require policyholders to pay for all of their own health care until the plan’s deductible has been met.

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