Women in Texas and hispanics have shown the highest percentage of reductions when it comes to rates of uninsured since enrollment began in the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Health Insurance Marketplace; this data is supported by a recent report signed by the Episcopal Health Foundation and Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.
According to the report, from September 2013 to March 2015, Hispanics’ percentage of health insurance fell more than any other ethnic group, about 38 percent, and the percentage of uninsured women fell a total of 32 percent.
“Hispanics in Texas had the lowest rates of coverage before the ACA, which meant they had the most to gain from the act’s Health Insurance Marketplace. In Texas, because so many of our residents are Hispanic, it’s important that this group become insured to increase the overall rate of coverage across the state,” noted Elena Marks, who is the president and CEO of the Episcopal Health Foundation.
Before the ACA, women were more likely to be uninsured in comparison to men, however, this new report found that although this is still true, the gap is getting smaller. The findings demonstrated that 16 percent of Texas men are now uninsured along with 18 percent of women (in 2013, the gap was only of 6 percentage points).
The authors reported that the overall rate of uninsured Texans lowered from 24.6 percent to 16.9 percent between September 2013 and March 2015. The decrease, however, was not equally shared among Texans. Those with low educational and low incomes experienced smaller reductions in the rates than those with higher income and education. Texans earning $16,000 to $45,000 fell 44 percent and those earning below $16,000 fell 18 percent, in 2013. Moreover, high school graduates had a 37 percent drop in comparison to those who did not graduate (12 percent).
“The likely explanation for this disparity is the fact that those with lower educational attainment are likely to earn less, and those with the lowest incomes were not eligible for subsidized insurance plans in the marketplace. For this population, unless and until there is some form of coverage expansion, likely within the Medicaid program, they are likely to remain uninsured,” explained Vivian Ho, the chair in health economics at Rice’s Baker Institute.
The report also assessed changes in the same demographic groups in the U.S. Blacks experienced the highest reductions in uninsured rates nationally, however in Texas they had the smallest decrease of any demographic group examined (4.5 percent).