Featured Story: Key Dates for Coverage!

https://sphotos-a-dfw.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn2/1185826_586551314736932_763592707_n.pngKey Dates for Coverage!

If you plan to look for coverage in the new Health Insurance Marketplace, you’ll want to keep a couple of key dates in mind.

October 1, 2013 – March 31, 2014 = Open Enrollment in the Marketplace

Open enrollment is the time of the year when people can enroll in plans in the Marketplace.  In this first year, open enrollment will last 6 months. 

More details on the Better Texas Blog!


Texas Left Me Out: Letter To Legislators

Today more than 40 Texas health care advocacy organizations, faith and community groups launched Texas Left Me Out, a campaign in English and Spanish to collect stories from uninsured Texans left in the coverage gap and connect them with available health care options and advocacy efforts.

While thousands of Texans living above the poverty line are successfully purchasing health plans on the Marketplace and getting help to pay for them, more than one million of Texas’ poorest adults are still being left out due to Texas’ choice to refuse billions of federal dollars to extend coverage to them. 

Download the PDF. (Right-click and choose "Save Link As...")

Cover Texas Now members provide testimony on flawed Navigator rule proposal

The Texas Department of Insurance recently held two hearings on proposed rules to regulate navigators in Texas (read more about the proposed rules in the post below).  Navigators under Affordable Care Act are community organizations, such as the United Way, that receive federal funding to help uninsured individuals learn about and enroll in health coverage through Health Insurance Marketplace.  Health insurance policies and choices can be confusing, especially for people who are not familiar with health insurance.  Navigators provide in-person assistance through the process.

Members of the Cover Texas Now coalition provided testimony at the hearings:

State’s Navigator Rule Could Impede Health Insurance Enrollment

By Stacey Pogue, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Public Policy Priorities

December 16, 2013

Stacey PogueLast week, the Texas Department of Insurance released proposed rules on “navigators”—community organizations like the United Way that help uninsured people apply for health insurance.  As proposed, the rules could prevent or delay the important work of navigators.  Fort Worth Star Telegram editors agree, noting that the rules will impede insurance enrollment and hinder progress on reducing Texas’ worst-in-the nation uninsured rate.

Countdown to Coverage: Have Questions About Fees?

BLOG_DefaultStarting October 1, 2013 many Americans will have the opportunity to enroll in new affordable coverage options through the Health Insurance Marketplace.  With these new coverage opportunities, however, comes a new requirement that most individuals have health insurance in 2014, or pay a fee to go uninsured.  The prospect of paying a fee (or “penalty,” as it is also called) may sound intimidating, but we’re here with the good news that most people who have coverage today already meet this new requirement, and that not everyone will be subject to the fees in 2014 and beyond.  Learn more below!

What if I Already Have Insurance?  Will I Owe a Fee?

Countdown to Coverage: Choosing A Health Plan

Katharine LigonSelecting a health care plan for you or your family can be intimidating, especially if this is your first time and/or you have a chronic condition such as mental illness.  As we have shared with you in our blog series, Countdown to Coverage, there is a lot to understand before you select a plan and for people who suffer from mental illness and substance use disorders, there are important things to consider when selecting a plan in the Marketplace.

Countdown to Coverage: ACA and Mental Health Benefits

Katharine LigonAccess to behavioral health care is not just a matter of having health insurance; it also requires an adequate scope of covered benefits in a health plan.  For many years, benefits for Mental Health and Substance Use (MH/SU) services were not included in many health plans.  In addition, when an employer did chose to offer mental health care coverage as a part of the employer-sponsored plan, MH/SU conditions were typically capped at a much lower level of coverage than that for physical conditions.  

Countdown to Coverage: Young Adults and the Marketplace

BLOG_DefaultYoung adults from ages 19 to 29 are one key group that stands to benefit from the launch of the new Health Insurance Marketplace on October 1.

Countdown to Coverage: Uninsured and Unbanked

Laura RosenThe October 1, 2013 opening day for Affordable Care Act Marketplaces is quickly approaching. While the new Health Insurance Marketplace is being established to reduce the numbers of uninsured, another effort is underway to ensure that unbanked individuals don’t face unnecessary barriers in getting health insurance.   


Countdown to Coverage: Important Medicaid Changes, Even Without Expansion

Anne DunkelbergDespite Texas elected officials’ current—and regrettable!—decision to exclude the poorest uninsured adult Texans from coverage in 2014, there are some important Medicaid changes afoot here for 2014. In fact, all 50 states are making these changes, no matter what their current decision on adult Medicaid expansion.  Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s staff certainly know it; they have put in plenty of long hours over the last year planning and prepping for these changes.

Here are some of the big-picture changes for 2014:

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