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Texans have few days left to buy ACA health insurance plans as signups hit record high

Texas has the highest number of uninsured people in the U.S. Saturday, Jan. 15, is the deadline to buy coverage that would start on Feb. 1.
Alex Brandon
/
AP
Texas has the highest number of uninsured people in the U.S. Saturday, Jan. 15, is the deadline to buy coverage that would start on Feb. 1.

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, Jan. 15 , is the deadline to buy coverage that would start on Feb. 1.

Open enrollment for coverage starting on Jan. 1 ended on Dec. 15. That enrollment period saw a record number of Texans sign up. According to the latest data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, more than 1.7 million people in Texas purchased health insurance through the ACA during that enrollment cycle.

“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 non profit 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,” explained Pogue. “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 added.

In years past, Sasser said typically about 50% of the people who signed up for health insurance plans through the ACA did it during the final week.

“Last year, more than half of the total enrollment for the year came in, in the last week,” he said. “So, there are lots of opportunities to get it done. But, Saturday is the final deadline.”

For more information, visit healthcare.gov. For people who need additional assistance, visit getcoveredamerica.org.

Texas has the highest number of uninsured people in the U.S.

Copyright 2022 KERA. To see more, visit KERA.

Sascha Cordner | The Texas Newsroom