For 20 years, Texas has been the worst state in the nation for protecting residents through access to medical care. A higher percentage of residents have had to survive without health insurance in Texas than in any other state, but September will bring new relief to help the public pay for Texas health insurance plans.
Over the last five years, Texas health insurance premiums rose by a whopping 40 percent. That was 10 times faster than household income rose for Texas residents during the same period. With the cost of health insurance soaring beyond reach for many working people, families were hit hard. Of the uninsured in Texas, more than 80 percent are in families supported by at least one working member. Although three-fourths of them have incomes above 200 percent of the federal poverty level, health insurance has remained out of reach.
As one in four Texas residents (nearly six million people) were trying to stay healthy in the absence of any kind of health insurance, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law in March 2010.
How Will Health Insurance In Texas Change In September?
Both young and old will benefit from the Affordable Care Act. This law includes provisions for children who have been excluded from coverage because insurers did not want to accept the risk of claims for known health problems.
Insurers will be required to cover everyone under the age of 19, even when they have known health problems, as of September 23, 2010. The new provision will apply to health insurance plans that are “grandfathered in”as well as to new group plans, self-insured plans and new individual plans. It applies to anyone under the age of 19 regardless of whether they are employed or married.
Texas residents over the age of 19 with known health problems have had access to coverage through a high-risk state pool. Now those who have not had health insurance for the last six months, will also have access to health insurance through a federal Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan.
Is An Ounce Of Prevention Worth A Pound Of Cure?
That famous quote from Benjamin Franklin, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” will finally be put to the test this fall. New insurance plans, starting on September 23, must provide “recommended” preventative services without requiring you to cover co-insurance, co-payment or a deductible.
With access to health screenings that are no longer cost-prohibitive, we can catch deteriorating health earlier to prevent suffering and save lives. Of course, it’s also cheaper to reverse health problems before they become life threatening, and that can help make health care accessible to more people by using healthcare dollars more effectively.