Texas has Highest Rate of Uninsured in Nation
(Austin – Sept., 2013) – Texas again leads the nation in the rate of uninsured. More than 25 percent of the state’s population under age 65 — 5,771,479 people — has no health insurance coverage, according to recent Census Bureau data. In 24 Texas counties, a third or more of residents are uninsured.
Many of the uninsured are working adults whose employers do not offer insurance coverage or for whom the cost of coverage is prohibitive.
The health care needs of the uninsured do not go away simply because they lack health insurance. The cost of providing care to these 5.7 million people is borne by hospitals, taxpayers, and the privately insured.
There is clearly an urgent need for the state to find solutions to get more patients covered. Without one, Texas will continue to experience excessive uncompensated care, cost shifting to the private sector and lost business productivity.
New private coverage options available Oct. 1 through the Health Insurance Marketplace will help. In the absence of Medicaid expansion, however, cost shifting will still occur. According to the RAND Corp., health insurance premiums in the Texas Marketplace will be 9.3 percent higher due to limited public coverage.
“THA continues to advocate for the state to accept new federal funds to expand Medicaid as the most effective tool for reducing the number of uninsured and the associated costs for Texas hospitals, taxpayers, and businesses.” Dan Stultz, M.D., FACP, FACHE, chief executive officer of the Texas Hospital Association.
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