HOUSTON – More young adults in Texas have health insurance, according to a new study by Rice University, which also finds that fewer Hispanics and low-income adults have coverage.
The report says the number of young adults in Texas without health insurance has dropped by 35 percent since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) went into effect in 2013.
But the study also shows that a significant number of Texans remain shut out of the health insurance marketplace.
Elena Marks, director of the Episcopal Health Foundation and a co-author of the study, says because Texas has opted to not use federal dollars to expand Medicaid under the ACA, many people are left without options.
“The lowest income groups really don’t have an opportunity to buy coverage,” she points out. “So whether they’re young or old or black or white or purple, there’s just not a lot that the ACA offers other than Medicaid expansion, which the state has turned down.”
Marks says the study found more than one-third of young Hispanics and 56 percent of low-income young adults in Texas still do not have health insurance.
She says that despite having the opportunity to enroll through the ACA, one-third of Hispanics in Texas remain uninsured, compared with just 10 percent of the white population.
Marks says the increase in coverage of 18 to 34-year-olds, often called young invincibles, is due to more companies offering insurance to employees, along with rules that allow children up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ policies.
She says the participation of young adults in the health insurance marketplace is important to its long-term success.
“The young invincibles, despite people saying they’ll never get insured, actually have become increasingly insured,” she points out. “They still lag behind the oldest adults. We’re pleased to see that they have made gains. We’d like to see them make greater gains.”
The report is part of a series tracking the implementation of the Affordable Care Act by Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and the Episcopal Health Foundation.
Author: Mark Richardson – Public News Service