After years of undermining the Affordable Care Act, balking at its Medicaid expansion, and refusing to open its own health insurance exchange, Texas lawmakers are shuttering a state-based healthcare program and encouraging Texans to sign up for coverage in the federally run healthcare exchange.
Texas’ high-risk pool program opened in 1998 and provides coverage to individuals and families with pre-existing conditions who couldn’t find insurance in the individual healthcare market. But the state deemed the program obsolete after the ACA’s exchanges began enrolling beneficiaries, arguing that Texans could find a better deal in the federally run exchange, the Texas Tribune reports.
“In our various communications to policyholders, and on our website, we are stressing the importance of carefully evaluating the provider networks of the health plans in which they are interested, to be sure they retain adequate access to their physicians and hospitals,” Steven Browning, executive director of the Texas Health Insurance Pool, told the Tribune.
The pool will close Jan. 1, and the 23,000 people currently participating in the pool must sign up for coverage by Dec. 15 or find coverage elsewhere to avoid a lapse.