Health Insurance Exchanges intended to Expand Coverage to Uninsured Texans|
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I’m Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”
Texas leads the nation in the percentage of people who have no health insurance. The majority of uninsured Texans are hard-working people whose employers do not provide coverage. Those of us fortunate enough to have insurance pay for the cost of healthcare for the uninsured.
Part of the Affordable Care Act requires states to establish a Health Insurance Marketplace — also referred to as a Health Insurance Exchange. The Marketplace will offer small businesses and individuals multiple options for purchasing affordable health insurance.
The law requires individuals to have health insurance. This is similar in concept to the requirement in Texas that all drivers must have automobile insurance.
Although there are a few exceptions, individuals who do not purchase insurance will incur a penalty. Businesses with 50 or more employees that do not provide affordable insurance will also face a penalty.
So far, the state of Texas has declined to establish a state-run Health Insurance Marketplace. That means Texas will have a Marketplace operated by the federal government.
The Marketplace must be flexible enough to meet local needs, encourage private insurers to participate, and balance the pooling of risk and managing public subsidies.
Expanding health care coverage to more Texans will ultimately benefit all of us.
For our faith-based health system — Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Harris Methodist and Texas Health Arlington Memorial — I’m Doug Hawthorne.