There’s a new opportunity for some people to enroll in health insurance coverage through HealthCare.Gov at no monthly cost. Typically, people are only able to enroll for HealthCare.Gov during the annual open enrollment period in the fall or when they experience a life change.
This new Marketplace enrollment period is available this year to certain people based on their income, as long as they are otherwise eligible for health coverage:
- For US citizens in Texas, individuals making $12,880 to $19,320 a year are eligible to enroll year-round. For a family of four, the income range is $26,500- $39,750 a year. These income ranges are 100-150% of the federal poverty level.
- Lawfully present immigrants who are ineligible for Medicaid due to their immigration status (this includes many Legal Permanent Residents) are also eligible if their income is less than $19,320/year for an individual, or less than $39,750/year for a family of four. This income range is below 150% of the federal poverty level.
This year-round enrollment opportunity builds on Congress’ COVID-19 relief package that makes it cheaper for people to enroll in HealthCare.Gov coverage. People with incomes that qualify for this enrollment period can get comprehensive coverage with a $0/month premium and a low or no deductible.
A record number of Texans signed up for insurance through HealthCare.Gov during the recent open enrollment period, as participation soared 42% over last year. More than 1.8 million Texans signed up during the open enrollment period. Half of all Texans who enrolled in plans through HealthCare.Gov during the open enrollment period fall in the 100%-150% range of federal poverty level. This enrollment opportunity will make it easier for people with low incomes to enroll in Marketplace coverage throughout the year.
Uninsured in Texas
The opportunity to enroll in HealthCare.Gov does not close the Medicaid coverage gap, which leaves many Texas adults without an option for affordable health coverage. Around 74% of Texans in the Medicaid coverage gap are people of color, with 55% alone being Latino adults. Closing the coverage gap advances health and racial justice.
Texas continues to have the highest uninsured rate in the US, 17.3% — about double the national average of 8.7%. Even with the highest uninsured rate overall, there are still inequities among Texans. The uninsured rates for each racial/ethnic group collected by the survey (Black, White, Hispanic, American Indian, Asian, etc.) are each higher than the national average. Texans who are Hispanic (26.8%) or American Indian (21.6%) have even higher uninsured rates than Texans who are white (16.4%), Black (15%), and Asian (11.2%).
Policymakers have the power to address the lack of access to health insurance in Texas. State leaders can finally expand Medicaid next legislative session, which would extend coverage to 1.4 million uninsured Texans. Congress can also permanently close the coverage gap in the 12 states that have not yet done so.
Other Opportunities to Enroll in Health Coverage
Until there is a solution at the state and federal levels, many uninsured Texans can sign up for affordable health coverage year-round, including right now.
- Texans with income over the amounts above may still sign up for HealthCare.Gov if they experience a life change. If you lose health coverage or experience other life events, including moving, getting married, or having a baby, you have a window of 60 days to enroll in a plan.
- Eligible Texans can always enroll year-round through Medicaid or CHIP, including children who are U.S. citizens and lawfully present immigrants. Children in families that earn up to $57,160 a year for a family of four may qualify.
Find Help Enrolling
It can be confusing to figure out how to enroll in health coverage. The good news is there’s plenty of help.
- Enrollment assisters for HealthCare.gov across the state can provide free, unbiased professional help.
- For Texas Medicaid and CHIP, you can get free, in-person help signing up from a Community Partner Organization.