Little Information Available About Texas Exchange
What do we know about the federally-facilitated exchange in Texas?
While neither carrier nor plan nor rate information has been released for the Texas Health Insurance Exchange; let us take a look at what we do know.
What website will I use to shop for health insurance coverage? and apply for subsidies?
On July 9, 2012, Governor Rick Perry announced that Texas would not establish a state insurance exchange or expand Medicaid. If you are interested in hearing it straight from the source, read the Governor’s letter to U.S. Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stating the State’s position regarding the ACA. The federal government will take full responsibility for operating the Texas Health Insurance Exchange. Texas consumers can use the federal website HealthCare.gov to compare plan options, apply for subsidies, and enroll in health insurance coverage.
Doesn’t Texas already help small employers by providing access to health insurance coverage?
An interesting bit of information is that the Texas Legislature actually created Healthy Texas in 2009 to meet the needs of Texas small businesses and their employees. Participating carriers include Celtic and UnitedHealthcare. Healthy Texas, which is primarily funded with state dollars, helps make low cost plans available to small businesses; however, Healthy Texas is no longer accepting new groups and current enrollees with renewal dates after December 1, 2013 will need to find other health insurance coverage. The Texas Health Options website is a resource available to Texans looking to find health insurance coverage.
Will premiums be the same statewide?
Texas will have 27 geographic rating areas, based on 26 MSAs plus one. Rating areas are used to help determine health insurance premiums and carriers can charge different premiums in the different rating areas. The Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversights has a chart showing the rating area in which each county falls.
Have any companies expressed their intent to participate in the Texas Health Insurance Exchange?
Three companies have expressed plans to participate in the Texas Health Insurance Exchange or shown interest in the exchange, though no carriers or plans have been publically confirmed.
Cigna President and Chief Executive Officer David Cordani stated that in 2014, Cigna intends to offer insurance in five public health exchanges, in about a dozen metropolitan regions in Texas, Florida, Tennessee, Arizona, and Colorado.
According to the company’s website, Molina plans to offer Marketplace plans in a number of states including Texas. If the company’s exchange plans in other markets are any indicator, look for the company to offer an individual HMO exchange product.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, a division of Health Care Service Corporation, has launched a website, BeCoveredTexas.org, to help raise awareness and educate Texans about the new health care law.
New information is being released every day. Follow this blog to receive updates as new information is released in Texas.
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