Texas has more residents signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplace than any other state, with 3.4 million enrollees, nearly twice as many as the next-largest state, California.
The Biden administration announced Wednesday that enrollment in federal insurance exchanges reached a record 21.3 million, a 30% increase from the previous year. Texas accounts for 12% of these enrollees.
It’s a milestone for the program, which for the past decade has provided health insurance to people who made too much money to qualify for Medicaid but couldn’t get affordable health insurance through their employer. Residents of most states sign up for coverage through HealthCare.gov, but 18 states operate their own platforms for people to seek coverage through the ACA.
“For decades, when it came to the federal programs we could rely on to keep Americans covered, three were always top of mind — Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, but now it’s clear we need to add a fourth – Action on Affordable Care,” said U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra. “Once again, a record number of Americans have signed up for affordable health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces, and now they and their families can have peace of mind with coverage.”
Texas’ high enrollment rates provide an interesting contrast to the state’s record of having the highest rates of uninsured. Nearly 17% of Texans lack health insurance, according to state statistics, while Oklahoma and Georgia, which ranks second, have uninsured rates of nearly 12%.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services attributes the increase in coverage to more affordable premiums and an aggressive campaign to get people to sign up.
“This is no accident,” President Joe Biden said Wednesday in a statement announcing the new enrollment data. “The actions I have taken to protect the Affordable Care Act and lower premiums continue to have a significant impact.”
But in recent months, many people have been forced to turn to the marketplace for coverage after being dropped from Medicaid. More than 15 million people have been excluded from Medicaid since April, when the federal government ended a 3-year ban that barred states from excluding ineligible people from health care during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to subsidies.
About 1.8 million Texas residents have dropped out of the federal low-income insurance program, the most of any state. The Lone Star State also had the highest disenrollment rate, renewing just 39% of its Medicaid recipients, KFF data shows. Children account for about 65% of Texas dropouts.
Those who have been removed from Medicaid will be eligible to enroll through the Affordable Care Act by July.
The Associated Press contributed to this report