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Yet another record year for Obamacare signups in Texas

It’s like a trend or something.

It's constitutional - deal with it

It’s constitutional – deal with it

A record 1.3 million Texans signed up for health coverage during the 2016 Affordable Care Act’s enrollment period, topping last year’s number by more than 100,000, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department final tally released Thursday.

Houston enrolled 346,822 for 2016 during the three-month sign-up period which began Nov. 1 and ended Jan. 31. Dallas-Forth Worth enrolled 382,669 and San Antonio enrolled 120,351.

Texas has long been the focus of concentrated outreach efforts by federal officials as the state continues to lead the nation in both the number and rate of uninsured. There were an estimated 5 million uninsured Texans when enrollment began, or roughly 20 percent of the state’s population.

In the final week of enrollment the pressure was on in the state, especially in south Texas. Health and Human Services officials said Thursday the blitz of marketing appeared to pay off as eight of 10 markets in the nation that had the fastest rate of growth were in Texas. Those markets are Corpus Christi, Harlingen, Laredo, El Paso, Odessa-Midland, San Antonio, Abilene-Sweetwater, and Lubbock.

[…]

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said Thursday during a press call that she was especially pleased not only with the increase but that the numbers included about 4 million new customers. Prior to enrollment kickoff, Burwell had tamped down expectations, saying that 2016 might prove difficult to reach those still uninsured.

Adding new customers, especially younger ones who presumably are healthier, “refreshed the risk pool,” said Kevin Counihan, CEO of Health Insurance Marketplace during the same call.

And just remember, Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick and Ken Paxton and Ted Cruz and John Cornyn would like nothing more than to take that health insurance away from all 1.3 million Texans. Remember also that we could double the number of people who are finally able to get affordable health care if we expanded Medicaid. And even though not many people talk about it, we could then double THAT number if the Affordable Care Act were extended to include all people, including undocumented immigrants. If you think that’s a bridge too far, then you need to work on your bridge-building. Trail Blazers has more.

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6 Comments

  1. Ross says:

    Of course, this does nothing for people whose insurance has now become unaffordable, or have had actual real providers dropped from the networks. Imagine losing your cancer doctor at MD Anderson because non-employer plans no longer include the good doctors, just the crappy ones. Imagine having no coverage if you get sick outside your plan’s service area.

    Obamacare might be a good idea in theory, but the implementation has been awful. My self-employed friends are all screaming about premiums going up 2 or three times for worse coverage, while the ones I know who didn’t have coverage before ACA are still without coverage, because they have better things to spend their money on than high priced plans with limited benefits.

  2. Don says:

    I’m self employed and my rates went down. Plus, no bs about pre existing conditions. Also, no change in the Drs my wife, kids and I can see. We have bcbs. Maybe this guy can call my ins broker and get my plan to avoid his claimed “nightmare”

  3. Jason says:

    We have BCBS through Obamacare and prices went up slightly. Free annual exam but higher deductible. Would prefer the old way better but not a nightmare. Single payer is the truly only way to solve the healthcare problem we have. Employee and employer both pay in just like social security. Leave pharma companies alone if you want innovation to continue, though.

  4. Mainstream says:

    Obamacare saved me $1500 per month on premiums, allowed a free annual physical, provided cheaper pharmacy plan, etc. But I have a colleague, self-employed contractor, who had premiums rise 20 or 30%, but also got broader coverage under the new insurance plan as required to meet the new minimum standards. So, it’s complicated, and depends on what health issues and pre-existing conditions you have whether the new system is a benefit or a burden.

  5. Ross says:

    I am on an employer plan, so there’s not been much impact on my coverage. For “fun” I looked at a selection of the bronze plans available in Houston. These are plans costing $1100 to $1800 per month. Deductibles are large, $6000+ per year, and networks limited. I had cancer treatments last year at MD Anderson, and none of it would be covered under any of those plans. Which would be bad, since the most competent doctors for what I had are at MD Anderson, and there’s not really anyone else in town who can treat something as rare as what I had. The plans will not cover proton therapy, which for head and neck cancer is bad, as conventional radiation tends to destroy parts of your brain and your vision.

    None of my other doctors is in any of the networks I looked at, which means people on those plans have to settle for second rate doctors.

    One of the contractors at work told me he has to find a new doctor for his daughter, who has epilepsy, as none of the plans include Texas Children’s.

    So, you may be happy with your plan, but let’s hope you or a family member doesn’t get diagnosed with something that needs treatment at MD Anderson, Texas Children’s or Methodist, or you will be seeing doctors who are just not as good.

  6. Manuel Barrera says:

    Wish I could afford an Aston Martin, but had to settle for a Dodge. Obamacare is good for sick people, but the cost is too high for middle income persons without insurance.

    Single payer would not give one the best doctors. We all come and we all go, the only thing is when we leave this world.