Survey: Number of Texans without health insurance drops under Affordable Care Act
HOUSTON – (Sept. 3, 2014) – The percentage of Texans without health insurance dropped after the first enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a report released today by the Episcopal Health Foundation and Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.
Photo credit: thinkstockphotos.com/Rice University
The report found that since the opening of the ACA’s Health Insurance Marketplace, the percentage of uninsured adult Texans dropped by a little more than 2 percent. The report estimates 378,000 more Texans had health insurance in June 2014 than in September 2013.
The small gain in Texans with health insurance was similar to gains in other states that did not expand Medicaid coverage. However, states that expanded Medicaid experienced the largest reductions in uninsured adults – 6 percent compared with the 2 percent in Texas.
“While the insurance gains in Texas demonstrate that people are enrolling in coverage, Texas is also the state with the highest percentage of uninsured adults in the nation,” said Elena Marks, CEO of the Episcopal Health Foundation and a health policy scholar at the Baker Institute. “That means Texas had the farthest to go in reducing the uninsured rate.”
Even with nearly 400,000 newly uninsured adults, the report estimates Texas has now surpassed California to become the state with the highest number of uninsured residents.
The report found the majority of the remaining uninsured adult Texans are Hispanic and low-income. Half of those uninsured are employed.
“The way to make the biggest improvement in covering the uninsured population in Texas is through Medicaid expansion,” said Vivian Ho, the chair in health economics at Rice’s Baker Institute, a professor of economics at Rice and a professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. “In states like Texas that have not expanded Medicaid, the opportunity to reduce the percent of uninsured adults through the ACA without Medicaid expansion is limited.”
An estimated 20 percent of uninsured adult Texans are undocumented and unable to take advantage of Medicaid or Marketplace plans.
The report is the seventh in a series on the implementation of the ACA in Texas co-authored by Marks and Ho.
The Health Reform Monitoring Survey (HRMS)-Texas report is based on a national project that provides timely information on implementation issues under the ACA and changes in health insurance coverage and related health outcomes. The Episcopal Health Foundation and Baker Institute are partnering to fund and report on key factors about Texans obtained from an expanded representative sample of Texas residents. Today’s report contains responses from 1,595 Texans in September 2013 and 1,538 in March 2014.
The survey was developed by the Urban Institute, conducted by the company GfK and jointly funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Urban Institute.
The analyses and conclusions based on HRMS-Texas are those of the authors and do not represent the views of the Urban Institute, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation or the Ford Foundation.
For more information or to schedule an interview with Marks, contact Brian Sasser, communications director at the Episcopal Health Foundation, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 832-795-9404.
To schedule an interview with Ho, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at email@example.com or 713-348-6775.
Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks among the top 15 university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog, http://blogs.chron.com/bakerblog.
The Episcopal Health Foundation is a new entity established through the 2013 sale of the St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System to Catholic Health Initiatives. The Foundation supports the work of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas and has assets of $1 billion. The mission of the Foundation is to advance the Kingdom of God with specific focus on human health and well-being through grants, research, and initiatives in support of the work of the Diocese. Episcopal Health Foundation embraces the World Health Organization’s broad, holistic definition of health: a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease.