Texas will lose out if they aren’t told
The Texas Association of Health Underwriters (TAHU) today said the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) should step up and consider using funding designed to educate and inform Texans about how to enroll in the federally-facilitated marketplace.
Mike Avery, president of the statewide group of employee benefits professionals, said an announcement recently by federal insurance regulators “has given us great concern that many Texans will not be given important information about how to enroll or re-enroll for individual health benefit plans for 2018.”
Avery cited a decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to reduce a federal outreach and education program by 90 percent.
Avery, an Odessa agent, credited the Texas Legislature with “having the foresight to anticipate this possibility and authorized the state insurance department to develop a program for outreach and education.”
“It’s critical that Texans be given accurate, current information about enrolling to make sure they don’t miss it,” Avery said. He added that statistics indicate that in previous years, similar public education programs were responsible for one-half of all new enrollments and one-third of reenrollments for individual policy owners.
“That’s a lot of people in Texas and we need to make sure they get the information soon.”
Avery pointed out that open enrollment dates for individual coverage have been changed again this year, with open enrollment beginning on November 1st and ending on December 15th. “If someone is relying on last year’s dates, they could easily miss out on 2018 coverage.”
Avery said TAHU members are able to assist Texans who have questions; but a statewide program by TDI could bring information to many more Texans.
“It’s just common sense,” he added. “When more people know about it, more people – including healthy people – will enroll and that’s good for everyone because it brings rates down. The individual market in Texas desperately needs stability and this would be one way to begin getting it.”
Texas Association of Health Underwriters (TAHU) is a statewide membership association representing licensed health insurance agents, brokers, consultants and benefit professionals who serve the health insurance needs of employers and individual consumers seeking health insurance. TAHU is a state affiliate of the National Association of Health Underwriters.
(Attachment: Copy of TAHU letter to TDI Commissioner)