Even Texans With Health Insurance Struggle to Afford It, Study Suggests

Feb 19, 2014

Texas still has the highest rate of uninsured people in the country, about one in four, and a new survey, the Health Reform Monitoring Survey-Texas report, suggests even some people with health insurance are struggling to pay for it.  

The report looked at how Texans were feeling in September about health care and insurance just before the Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplace launched. Vivian Ho, an economist with Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, helped produce the report. She says they're trying to measure the impact of the health care law in Texas.

"That’s what we’re extremely interested in finding out is who’s buying coverage and how does it help in terms of affordability of getting coverage and also affordability of getting their health care services, Because that’s ultimately what matters in terms of wellbeing of a population." Ho says.

Among people who had insurance, almost a quarter said they struggled to afford their medical bills because of high premiums and co-pays, though people said they were generally satisfied with the quality of their health plans. Almost half of insured Texans said they expected the Affordable Care Act to change their insurance this year, which researchers say reflects the "uncertainty and anxiety " people feel about a massive overhaul of the health care system.

In March, the researchers will follow up to see if any of those concerns materialized, if they purchased plans on the marketplace and if so, why they chose their new plan.