Texans have a few days left to buy ACA health insurance plans as signups hit record high
Texans have less than a week left to sign up for health insurance through the online marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Saturday is the deadline to buy coverage that would start Feb. 1.
Open enrollment for coverage starting Jan. 1 ended Dec. 15. According to the latest data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, more than 1.7 million people in Texas bought health insurance through the ACA during that enrollment cycle — a record number.
“The last time we had the record for open enrollment periods was actually back in 2016,” said Stacey Pogue, senior policy analyst for the progressive nonprofit Every Texan. “We had 1.3 million Texans who signed up at open enrollment in 2016. We’re already 400,000 Texans above that this enrollment period, even though it’s not done yet.”
Pogue said one major factor driving signups in Texas: affordability.
“Congress increased the financial assistance that goes to people signing up at healthcare.gov in 2021 with the American Rescue Plan,” she said. “And, so, there are just many, many more Texans who are eligible for a comprehensive insurance plan with very low monthly premiums at $10 a month or less.”
On top of affordability, Brian Sasser with the Episcopal Health Foundation in Houston said he expects other factors could increase enrollment by Saturday.
“If you combine that there’s navigation help for you, there’s more financial assistance available than ever, and there’s more plans to choose from, hopefully that’s a perfect storm to really raise this enrollment during the last week,” he said.
Sasser said about 50% of people who signed up for health insurance plans through the ACA in years past typically did it during the final week.
“So, there are lots of opportunities to get it done. But, Saturday is the final deadline," he said.
Texas has the highest number of uninsured people in the U.S.
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