Texas may still be home to the highest rate of uninsured people in the country, but after last week’s open enrollment deadline, that number is on its way down. As we previously reported, as the February 15 deadline approached, the number of Texans who had enrolled in or renewed health coverage had already surpassed 950,000. Now, the latest post-deadline numbers are out, and the number of Texans who received health coverage through the ACA marketplace is over 1 million.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1,189,316 Texans had enrolled in or renewed their coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace as of February 15, 2015. This includes hundreds of thousands of Texans in major metro areas, especially several thousand in the Rio Grande Valley. Numbers from HHS are below:
- Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington: 334,467
- Houston/The Woodlands/Sugar Land: 317,223
- San Antonio/New Braunfels: 110,805
- Austin/Round Rock: 101,244
- El Paso: 54,117
- McAllen/Edinburg/Mission: 34,241
Mimi Garcia, Texas State Director of Get Covered America, lauded the high numbers in a statement:
“I am extremely pleased that nearly 1.2 Texans enrolled in a health care plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace during the second open enrollment period and will have their health care needs covered. The fact that more than 180,000 Texans enrolled in the final nine days of the open enrollment period shows that people want and need an affordable and quality health care plan. I’m proud of our Get Covered America team and all our partners across the state who put in so many hours to insure that people received coverage.”
The enrollment numbers may still rise even higher thanks to a decision from the Department of Health and Human Services. On Monday, they announced “that any uninsured Texan who started the enrollment process through the Health Insurance Marketplace but were unable to finish due to an issue with HealthCare.gov or the enrollment hotline will have until February 22 to complete their application.” This means that those who started to enroll through the marketplace but encountered issues in the process have until Sunday to get covered.
Garcia emphasized the importance of this special enrollment period in a statement:
“This special enrollment period represents a major opportunity for uninsured Texans. It is critical that everyone who started the enrollment process but was unable to finish it, act immediately to complete their enrollment by February 22. Get Covered America will continue reaching out to uninsured Texans who may qualify for this opportunity to answer their questions and encourage them to enroll if they are eligible.”
Unfortunately, there are still millions of Texans who lack coverage, including the 1 million stuck in the Medicaid coverage gap. Nonetheless, the fact that Texans are getting health coverage is great news, and important step in the right direction.