Texas is one of 36 states that relies on the federal health exchange (the Marketplace) for its healthcare coverage. However, in January 2015, Texas State Representative Chris Turner, a Democrat, filed two bills designed to establish a state-run exchange. These bills, which both centered on the recent Supreme Court case (King v. Burwell), both failed. Considering that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of continuing federal subsidies, this removed much of the need for a state-run exchange.
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Texas residents can turn to the federal Marketplace’s website, www.Healthcare.gov, to research and compare direct quotes from various brokers and providers, including plans offered by privately owned and for-profit companies. And, purchasing any of these policies means that you are meeting the requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Also known as Obamacare, this healthcare law requires Americans to purchase health coverage during the annual Open Enrollment Period (OEP), which runs from Nov. 1, 2015 to Jan. 31, 2016. If you miss this deadline, you may face an IRS-imposed penalty.
Texas’ impressive ACA enrollment rates
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which oversees the ACA, found that 1,205,174 Texans enrolled through the Marketplace during the 2015 OEP; this is the nation’s third-highest rate. 57 percent of these enrollees are actually first-time customers.
In addition, the agency found that 146,548 people enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) during the 2015 OEP. CHIP is a federal program providing free or low-cost coverage to children and other family members. This is important, as Texas has been shown to have the highest number of Medicaid enrollments among states that haven’t expanded Medicaid.
Further evidence of Obamacare’s benefits of Obamacare for Texas residents is illustrated by the HHS’s enrollment studies. In 2014, 84 percent of all residents enrolling through the Marketplace qualified for tax credits. The HHS found that in 2014, Texans had the seventh-lowest monthly premiums among the 36 states utilizing the federal Marketplace.