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Expanding Health Insurance Access Top Priority

Agents Group Recommending Small Change in Texas Insurance Law

Texas Association of Health Underwriters

Austin,Texas (PR MediaRelease) September 23, 2016

A Texas insurance agents group thinks it’s found a way to expand access to health insurance for many Texans who are being locked out by a decades old provision in the Texas Insurance Code.

The Texas Association of Health Underwriters will be asking the Texas Legislature to modify the law when it meets in January.  According to TAHU, one small tweak in the terminology on dependent coverage will sync Texas law with federal law in how dependents may be insured.

Under federal law, a spouse can be excluded from a plan that provides “minimum essential coverage,” but that plan may then include coverage for dependents such as children.  Texas law, on the other hand, is just the opposite.  The Texas Insurance Code says the term  “dependents” includes a spouse and children.  Therefore, to comply with State law, insurance carriers and health plans must exclude all dependents – spouse and children; or include all dependents.

“In most cases, because the cost for dependents is paid entirely by the employee, what we have seen in recent years is that the cost for all the dependents has become so high, the employee often  declines  covering his or her dependents,” said  Cheryl Clark of Lubbock, TAHU president.

This “everyone or no one” requirement can then result in all the dependents going without comprehensive insurance, Clark added.

Clark said TAHU believes the recommended change will logically result in more children who are dependents being insured under the parent’s plan after freeing up the opportunity for the spouse to buy his or own independent plan outside of the employer plan.

“How many parents do we all know who want to insure their children?   This legislative initiative will give them have an easier way to do that.”

 

The 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. – See more at: http://prmediarelease.com/market-disruption-foreseen-if-aca-change-goes-forward/#sthash.eB1oBtq8.dpuf

Lee Manross
Texas Association of Health Underwriters
Government Affairs Consultant
512-322-9787
LManross@aol.com
Jessica Watts, CEBS, PHR, SHRM-CP
Texas Association of Health Underwriters
Director of State Legislation
254-913-5185
jessicajwatts@gmail.com
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