|Across all states, Texans are the least likely to get alternate coverage after losing job-based insurance. This means that as the number of unemployment claims in Texas continues to grow, a significant portion of Texans losing their job-based insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to end up uninsured. While health coverage has always been a critical element of financial security and access to health care, the state’s failure to expand Medicaid could now have even more devastating effects on the health and financial well-being of many Texans, especially the communities of color who are bearing the brunt of the ongoing crisis.
Two recent reports — one from the Kaiser Family Foundation and another from the Urban Institute — reveal two key findings about the impact of the pandemic on Texas’ uninsured population:
- 1.6 million Texans have already lost job-based health insurance because of a job loss in the family between March 1 and May 2, and
- Half of Texans who lose job-based insurance will end up uninsured.
Even before the public health crisis resulted in staggering job losses, Texas had both the largest uninsured population (5 million Texans) and the highest uninsured rate (18%), which makes it even harder for the state’s residents, communities, and the health care system to address the pandemic. As the number of Texans who’ve lost job-based health coverage continues to grow, it is critical that people meet the deadline to sign up for reduced-price insurance at HealthCare.gov.
State action is needed to prevent Texans from falling through the cracks in our patchwork system of health insurance coverage. Now more than ever, advocates are calling for Texas leaders to immediately approve Medicaid expansion, which could cover 1.5 million uninsured Texans, including many who remain working on the frontlines in low-wage jobs that often lack job-based insurance. Read Stacey Pogue’s new blog for more details on the growing uninsured population, and visit https://sickofittx.org/ to learn more about how you can take action right now to rewrite the rules to ensure better health coverage for all Texans.