The percentage of uninsured Texans in 2022 dropped to the lowest in a decade

According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau survey released on Thursday Texas, continues to have the highest percentage of residents without health insurance, at nearly 17 percent.

Dr. Spencer R. Berthelsen, M.D., Chairman, Board of Directors at Kelsey-Seybold, who still sees patients two days a week, visits with patient Francisco Garcia (also a doctor at Kelsey Seybold) before his annual physical at their clinic in Sugar Land. Sept. 22, 2011.
Dr. Spencer R. Berthelsen, M.D. the Chairman of the Board of Directors at Kelsey-Seybold, takes time out of his busy schedule, to meet with patients like Francisco Garcia, who is also a doctor at Kelsey-Seybold. They catch up before Francisco’s yearly check-up at the clinic in Sugar Land.

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Texas continues to have the highest number of uninsured Americans but new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, shows that the percentage of Texans without health coverage last year at 16.6%, was one of the lowest in the past ten years.

According to the recently released 2022 American Community Survey by the bureau, there was a decrease in the number of uninsured individuals in Texas compared to the estimated figures from 2021. While over 5.2 million Texans lacked coverage in 2021, the survey found that less than 4.9 million individuals were uninsured the following year. This is good news for the state’s residents.

The rise in private health care coverage in Texas is partly due to federal actions that have made this type of insurance more affordable. Experts believe that these actions have contributed to an increase in enrollment resulting in over 700,000 more Texans having private health insurance between 2021 and 2022, according to estimates from the bureau.

According to Charles Miller, a senior policy advisor for Texas 2036 the percentage of uninsured Texans has been fluctuating over the past decade. In 2013 it was recorded to be 22.1% while in 2022 it decreased to 16.6%. However Texas continues, to have the highest uninsured rate in the nation for quite a while.

Miller said the 2022 estimate shows incremental improvement compared to previous years.

“It’s great to see improvements, and we definitely don’t want to downplay that,” mentioned Miller. “However, it’s important to acknowledge that the situation isn’t perfect and there’s still more work to be done.” Miller pointed out that the 2022 estimate shows some progress compared to previous years.

Experts attributed the 2022 improvement to several factors.

Federal regulations previously prevented states from terminating Medicaid coverage during the COVID 19 pandemic. This extended coverage benefited around 3 million Texans ensuring they could still receive Medicaid even when they would have usually been removed from the program.

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Anne Dunkelberg a senior fellow at Every Texan a health care advocacy group stated that historically Texas has been among the most restrictive states when it comes to handling Medicaid eligibility.

According to Dunkelberg, there has been an increase in people signing up for private insurance due to the enhanced subsidies provided by the American Rescue Plan Act. In Texas and nationwide, Marketplace enrollment grew by almost 550,000 individuals between 2021 and 2022. These subsidies made insurance more affordable, and along with the temporary halt in the removal of Medicaid recipients, more Texans were able to obtain insurance in 2022.

“When health insurance is affordable, Texans who work and low-income Texans are more likely to use it, as shown by the data,” shared Brian Sasser, the chief communications officer of the Episcopal Health Foundation a community health advocacy group. “However, if it becomes unaffordable they tend to opt out.

In April, the federal funding legislation made changes to Medicaid protections, affecting who can stay on the program in Texas. This primarily impacted children, disabled adults and pregnant women up to two months after giving birth. As a result Texas has removed over half a million people from the Medicaid rolls.

According to Sasser, the Census Bureau gathered the 2022 data before the “unwinding” of Medicaid rolls. This suggests that the current estimates may not account for the true number of uninsured Texans which could be higher.

While these numbers are impressive and it’s certainly encouraging to witness some progress it’s quite likely that next year we’ll find ourselves in a completely different situation mentioned Sasser.

While these numbers are impressive and it’s certainly encouraging to witness some progress it’s quite likely that next year we’ll find ourselves in a completely different situation mentioned Sasser.

Notably, Texas is one of 10 states that has not expanded Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act.

The latest census data from the bureau reveals that there are still challenges for historically uninsured groups when it comes to obtaining health care coverage. Specifically, Texans aged 19 to 34 face the highest likelihood of being uninsured, while over a quarter of Hispanic Texans lack coverage. Interestingly, the percentage of uninsured Hispanic Texans is more than double the rate of uninsured white and Asian individuals, standing at 11.1% and 8.7% respectively.

Did you know that nearly half of uninsured Texans may be eligible for subsidies for private health insurance through the Affordable Care Act? Health care costs can often feel overwhelming, especially if you don’t receive insurance benefits through your job. However, there may be options available to help. If your household income falls between 100% and 150% of the federal poverty level, which is currently $19,720 for a two-person home, it’s worth checking what subsidies you may qualify for.

In 2022, there has been a significant rise in child poverty across the country, with the bureau reporting that it has more than doubled. This sharp increase in poverty levels is primarily attributed to the termination of pandemic-era measures, including the discontinuation of increased child tax credit payments.

The Census Bureau just shared the latest info on income, and poverty levels in the US. In Texas the median household income went up from around $67,000 to over $72,000 between 2021 and 2022. The poverty rate stayed pretty much the same at 14%.

Earlier this year, the Census Bureau released new data revealing a significant demographic shift in Texas. It was found that the Hispanic population now surpasses the white population marking a significant milestone for the state.

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