Texas to Shutter High-Risk Insurance Pool, And Encourage Residents to Sign Up For Obamacare Plans

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.

Posted in Insurance/Benefits, News.
  • Gene Ralno

    From various media, New York also will shutter its high risk pool in deference to implementation of nationalized health care.

  • Philip Korenman

    This is very concerning. People can’t even access the ACA Federal website yet, and it could take over 45 to 60 days to research, apply, be accepted, and activate a new policy.
    I do not understand why this decision would not have given enrollees at least 60 and preferably 90 days to find new coverage.
    When a provider decides to terminate a plan there must be fair notice given – usually at least 60 days. How can the state do this?

    Philip D. Korenman, MD
    Psychiatrist in private practice

  • Debbie

    My husband is in heart failure. The Texas high risk pool has been a real life line for us. We were paying premiums of $2300 a month for him alone. The high risk cut our premium in more than half. We still struggle with that. We have enrolled in obamacare to only be told he will not be eligible. They will not tell us why. They tell me to write an appeal letter. I don’t even know what I am appealing. There are supposedly only three reasons you can not be eligible. Not a citizen. Not living in us or incarcerated. He is a natural born citizen, lived in the same city his entire life, and never incarcerated. I am awaiting a phone call from the exchange.. Trying to get information even on the cost has been ridiculous. They wll not release the amount of out of pocket or deductible charges. I hAve called the high risk pool, several others are experiencing major issuesike this. It took over 3 weeks just to enroll, we are supposed to trust that an appeals letter will be addressed by dec 31st when ins ends. They won’t give you a phone number to the appeals dept. hope Rick perry types in and helps us to keep our insurance until this is resolved. Not just for us, but all 23,000 of us in Texas.

  • Marva

    Rick Perry , Texas health pool high risk please help me . Can’t I keep my insurance. . My husband gets disability , social security. I have been on high risk pool since my husband got cancer in. 2007. I am on this ins. And want to keep it. I ‘ve had cancer in 2010, and mild stroke. If I’ve ever needed insurance is now. Healthcare. Gov is a joke , I even have and I’d “. An acct . But it won’t let me go further to enroll and get a bronze plan. I can’t get anything cause of high risk . Obama said we could keep our ins. Which is a lie. Why would you support doing away with high risk pool. Please I’m begging you, HELP Me. They are going to discontinue my auto matic bank drafts. I’m at a lost. 58 yrs old. WHAT AM I GOING TO DO. I Am IN A LOT OF DISPARE . PLEASE DONT IGNORE ME LIKE OTHER INSURANCE COMPANIES Have , cause I high risk (which Obama said they can’t turn you down, yeah right . I’m not complaining just need help fast , my phone. # is 903-216-8020. An you have my e mail . Or Rick Perry let me keep my Texas Health Pool. THANKS–I HOPE !!!