Nav: Home

New report shows gains in health insurance across Texas fall behind rest of US

December 17, 2015

HOUSTON - (Dec. 17, 2015) - The rate of adults without health insurance across the U.S. dropped nearly twice as much as in Texas from 2013 to 2015, according to a new report released today by Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy and the Episcopal Health Foundation (EHF).

The report found that since enrollment began in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in September 2013, the adult uninsured rate in the U.S. fell by 41 percent. Researchers found Texas' uninsured rate dropped just 21 percent during the same time.

"The good news is that Texans, like all Americans, saw meaningful drops in the rates of uninsured since the ACA began," said Elena Marks, president and CEO of the EHF and a nonresident health policy fellow at the Baker Institute. "However, Texas still has the most uninsured adults in the nation, and Texans with the lowest incomes continue to get health-insurance coverage at a rate far below anyone else."

The report found that the uninsured rate among low-income adults in Texas dropped 15 percent - the smallest decline of any group in the state. Nearly 50 percent of Texans with household incomes below $27,000 a year remain uninsured. Federal subsidies aimed at helping people purchase ACA Marketplace health-insurance plans are not available to these low-income Texans.

"The ACA's plan for covering the poorest Americans was through Medicaid expansion," said Vivian Ho, the chair in health economics at Rice's Baker Institute and director of the institute's Center for Health and Biosciences, a professor of economics at Rice and a professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. "Because Texas opted not to expand Medicaid, around 1 million Texans are in a coverage gap without access to affordable health insurance. Unless the state expands Medicaid or comes up with an alternative system of coverage for those with lowest incomes, they will remain uninsured."

From 2013 to 2015, Researchers found that the uninsured rate of all adults across Texas dropped from 24 percent to 19 percent. Each demographic population group experienced improvement in health-insurance coverage.

"This is still an important development for Texas," Marks said. "The state has had a stubbornly high rate of uninsured residents for many years. Hispanics in Texas had the highest uninsured rate in Texas, but Hispanics are now also seeing the greatest gains in health-insurance coverage."

The report found the rate of uninsured Hispanics decreased from 39 percent in 2013 to 29 percent in 2015. The large decrease among Hispanics was slightly more than blacks, and almost twice as much as whites in Texas.

Nationwide, adults experienced a larger decrease in the percentage of uninsured than Texas, especially among those with the lowest incomes. The uninsured rate of adults with household incomes below $27,000 dropped 41 percent across the U.S., compared with the 15 percent decrease in Texas.

The report is the 16th in a series on the implementation of the ACA in Texas co-authored by Marks and Ho.

The Health Reform Monitoring Survey (HRMS) is a quarterly survey of adults ages 18-64 that began in 2013.

Ho and Mark's report is a summary of data extracted from the HRMS surveys in Texas administered between September 2013 and September 2015.

The HRMS is designed to provide timely information on implementation issues under the ACA and to document changes in health-insurance coverage and related health outcomes. The Baker Institute and the Episcopal Health Foundation are partnering to fund and report on key factors about Texans obtained from an expanded, representative sample of Texas residents (HRMS-Texas).

The HRMS was developed by the Urban Institute, conducted by 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 view of the Urban Institute, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation or the Ford Foundation.
-end-
To schedule an interview with Ho, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.

To schedule an interview with Marks, contact Brian Sasser, director of communications at the Episcopal Health Foundation, at bsasser@episcopalhealth.org or 832-795-9404.

Related materials:

Full survey report: http://bakerinstitute.org/media/files/files/8e5c4da3/Issue_Brief_16.pdf

Episcopal Health Foundation: http://www.episcopalhealth.org

Marks bio: http://www.episcopalhealth.org/en/about/staff

Ho bio: http://bakerinstitute.org/experts/vivian-ho

Founded in 1993, Rice University's Baker Institute ranks among the top 10 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 http://www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute's blog, http://blogs.chron.com/bakerblog.

The Episcopal Health Foundation was established in 2013 and is based in Houston. With more than $1.2 billion in estimated assets, the Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation that operates as a supporting organization of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. EHF works to improve the health and well-being of the 10 million people in the 57 counties of the Diocese by investing in communities through grant-making, outreach to Diocesan churches and critical research to advance community health.

Rice University

Related Health Insurance Articles:

Health insurance expansion linked to fewer sudden cardiac arrests
The incidence of sudden cardiac arrest, a sudden and usually deadly loss of heart function, declined significantly among previously uninsured adults who acquired health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, also known as 'Obamacare,' according to a study published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Analysis indicates that insurance expansion improves access to care, health, and survival
There is strong evidence that expanding health insurance increases access to care, improves health in a variety of ways, and reduces mortality, according to Harvard T.H.
Generous health insurance plans encourage overtreatment, but may not improve health
Offering comprehensive health insurance plans with low deductibles and co-pay in exchange for higher annual premiums seems like a good value for the risk averse, and a profitable product for insurance companies.
Study shows health insurance plans too complicated to understand
A new survey by experts at the Health Disparities Institute of UConn Health shows that many patients across Connecticut are struggling to understand their complex, jargon-filled private health insurance plans and even to use their plan benefits correctly.
With health insurance at risk, community health centers face cut-backs
Repeal of key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, combined with a failure to renew critical funding streams, would result in catastrophic funding losses for community health centers-forcing these safety net providers to cut back on services, lay off staff or shut down clinical sites, according to a report published today.
Evaluating the benefits of health insurance on cancer care
A new Dartmouth study shows that patients have lower rates of cancer-specific survival based on where they live and their social determinants of health.
American College of Physicians praises blocked health insurance merger
The American College of Physicians (ACP) praises the ruling by a federal judge yesterday that blocked a proposed merger between health insurers Aetna and Humana.
More with mental illness and substance use disorders have health insurance
Significantly more people with mental illness and substance use disorders had insurance coverage in 2014 due to the expansion of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, but many barriers to treatment remain, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research suggests.
'Cadillac tax' may precipitate changes to employer-provided health care insurance
Even if the Affordable Care Act is ultimately repealed, the law's so-called 'Cadillac tax' on high-cost health care plans has already affected employers' health insurance offerings, says Richard L.
Study links health literacy to higher levels of health insurance coverage
The federal Affordable Care Act is intended to make it easier for individuals to buy health insurance, but are the uninsured equipped to navigate the choices faced in the insurance marketplace?

Related Health Insurance Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Bias And Perception
How does bias distort our thinking, our listening, our beliefs... and even our search results? How can we fight it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas about the unconscious biases that shape us. Guests include writer and broadcaster Yassmin Abdel-Magied, climatologist J. Marshall Shepherd, journalist Andreas Ekström, and experimental psychologist Tony Salvador.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#513 Dinosaur Tails
This week: dinosaurs! We're discussing dinosaur tails, bipedalism, paleontology public outreach, dinosaur MOOCs, and other neat dinosaur related things with Dr. Scott Persons from the University of Alberta, who is also the author of the book "Dinosaurs of the Alberta Badlands".