Texas Hospital Association

Health Insurance Marketplace Enrollment Accelerating in Texas

Positive effects blunted by state’s failure to expand Medicaid; additional federal funding cuts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Lance Lunsford
Texas Hospital Association
512/465-1052
Email: llunsford@tha.org
Twitter: @lancelunsford

 

THA logo

(Austin – Jan. 14, 2014) – Texas has the second highest health insurance enrollment among the 26 states relying on the federal government to administer the health insurance marketplace, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As of Dec. 28, 2013, enrollment in Texas was 118,532, reflecting a surge in December activity as the enrollment website’s functionality improved and consumers sought coverage effective Jan. 1. 

Unfortunately, the positive impact for Texas hospitals is diminished. The state’s failure to extend Medicaid coverage to the working poor or devise its own solution to reduce the number of uninsured leaves more than one million Texans with no access to affordable coverage options. 

In addition, ongoing and new federal funding cuts result in significantly fewer resources for Texas hospitals to provide care for the uninsured.

  • Hospitals already provide more than $5 billion annually in uncompensated care because of Texas’ high rate of uninsured. 
  • Reductions in Medicare Disproportionate Share Hospital payments began in FY 2012 and for FY 2014 alone are between $16 million and $19 million.
  • The recent congressional budget deal will extend federal cuts to the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital program that were intended as “pay-fors” for Medicaid expansion for an additional year through 2023. 
  • The budget deal also extends the two percent sequester reduction in reimbursement rates for Medicare providers (including hospitals) for two additional years from 2021 to 2023.
  • The three-month SGR or “doc fix” will avert deep cuts to physician reimbursement but contains substantially lower payments for long-term care hospitals that serve patients with clinically complex conditions.

“Increased private insurance enrollment through the Marketplace is certainly good news, but with a million Texans remaining uninsured and reduced federal resources, Texas hospitals will shoulder a heavy financial burden,” said John Hawkins, THA senior vice president for government relations. “The state’s inaction on coverage for the working poor and new and continued funding cuts at the federal level are a real threat to Texas hospitals’ continued ability to provide the highest quality care to all who need it.”

-30-

About the THA
Founded in 1930, the Texas Hospital Association is the leadership organization and principal advocate for the state’s hospitals and health care systems. Based in Austin, THA enhances its members’ abilities to improve accessibility, quality and cost-effectiveness of health care for all Texans. One of the largest hospital associations in the country, THA represents more than 85 percent of the state’s acute-care hospitals and health care systems, which employ some 369,000 health care professionals statewide. Learn more about THA at www.tha.org or follow THA on Twitter @texashospitals.


Subsidiaries and Affiliates

HealthSHARE

Texas Hospital Insurance Exchange

Texas Hospital Association Foundation

Texas Healthcare Trustees

HOSPAC

According to Texas Government Code 305.027, portions of this material may be considered “legislative advertising.” Authorization for its publication is made by John Hawkins, Texas Hospital Association, 1108 Lavaca, Suite 700, Austin, Texas, 78701-2180.