In Central Texas and across the country, the Health Insurance Marketplace launched on Tuesday – and a wide range of elected officials and health care advocates are urging Central Texans to sign up for coverage.
"Today represents a big step – a serious step – toward making health insurance available and affordable to so many Texans who need it," Senator Kirk Watson said at a press conference Tuesday.
Oct. 1 marked the first day of open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace in Texas and across the nation. The Marketplace allows applicants to easily access, compare and sign up for a variety of health insurance plans in person, online or over the phone. Consumers can access the Marketplace by going to www.healthcare.gov. In Austin, they can call 2-1-1 to find their nearest Certified Application Counselor.
"The Affordable Care Act is law, and about 1.5 million Texans will benefit from the opening of the Health Insurance Marketplace that the Act allows,” Watson said. “But don't forget, Texas leads the nation in our percentage of uninsured residents. There's still much, much more we can do to ensure that Texans have the health coverage they need."
More than one in four Texans under age 65 lacks health insurance coverage.
“Health insurance is good for the community. People who have insurance are likely to seek care more often and in more appropriate settings, such as primary care clinics, instead of seeking care in a high cost emergency department setting," said Rosie Mendoza, Chairperson of Central Health Board of Managers.
"For residents without insurance, our local tax dollars cover their care, particularly in the instance of emergency care. Bringing more residents into insured status reduces the cost to taxpayers by decreasing the use of high cost emergency services and by providing the hospital payment for services from the insurer rather than the taxpayer,” Mendoza said.
Enrollment opened October 1, 2013 and runs through March 31, 2014 for coverage beginning January 1, 2014. Download a map that identifies locations where you can get assistance applying for coverage through the Marketplace at uwatx.org/getcovered.
Partner Organizations: Protect Your Care, City of Austin, Travis County, Central Health, Capital Metro, Austin Community College, Enroll America, United Way of Austin, Foundation Communities, Center for Public Policy Priorities, Lone Star Circle of Care, CommUnityCare, Integral Care, Latino Health Care Forum, Health, Alliance for Austin Musicians, SIMS Foundation, Community Advancement Network, Seton Community Health Centers, Insure A Kid, St. David’s Foundation, Peoples Community Clinic, Communicare