More than 21 million people across the country, including close to 3.5 million Texans, signed up for health care plans through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace for 2024.
Charles Miller, a senior policy advisor with Texas 2036said it’s a record high for Texas.
“It’s been some explosive growth,” he said.
About 2.4 million Texans signed up for a plan through the Marketplace during open enrollment in 2023, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Servicesand a little over 1.8 million in 2022. According to health policy organization KFFTexas, Florida and Georgia “accounts for half of the national growth in Marketplace enrollment this year.”
Miller said changes that made Marketplace plans more streamlined and affordable were part of the reason for the growth. The Inflation Reduction Act and the American Rescue Plan improved subsidies and lowered costs, and are in place through the end of 2025.
The federal government also gave out about $100 million to expand insurance Marketplace navigators in community organizations. Navigators help people apply for health insurance on Healthcare.gov and answer questions about the process.
Miller said it’s too soon to tell how this increase in coverage will impact the state’s uninsured rate – the highest in the country. According to the latest census data, 16.6% of Texans are uninsured, more than double the national rate.
Health insurance, Miller said, gives people the option to deal with medical issues before they become chronic or life-threatening.
“If you have health insurance, you are going to have some financial peace of mind and financial stability,” he said. “You are going to be able to make those decisions to seek care with finances being a little bit less of an issue.”