Two-thirds of Texans without health insurance live in working families and more than half are in families that include at least one full-time worker. These are just some of the findings from a detailed report on the uninsured in Texas written by Urban Institute analysts and sponsored by Episcopal Health Foundation (EHF).
The report shows that construction, wholesale and retail trades, and arts/entertainment/recreation each employ about 15 percent of the state’s uninsured workers. More than 4 in 10 (42 percent) uninsured Texans are in families with at least one adult who works at a company with more than 50 employees, the report finds.
Researchers estimate that 19 percent of Texans under the age of 65 in Texas (4.7 million people) do not have health insurance. That remains the highest uninsured rate and the most people without health insurance of any state in the United States.
The report finds that 60 percent of uninsured Texans live in low-income families earning less than $35,000 a year for a family of four. Researchers discovered that 25 percent of adult Texans under the age of 65 are uninsured, more than triple the rate of uninsured children in the state (8 percent). The difference is primarily due to the broader eligibility for public health insurance programs for the state’s children, researchers say.
Statewide, the report shows that 61 percent of Texans without health insurance are Hispanic, compared to 24 percent white and 10 percent black. Researchers also found that nearly two-thirds of the uninsured in Texas are U.S. citizens.
In addition to the statewide report, researchers provide detailed characteristics of the uninsured broken down by counties and county groups across Texas. These local reports show how the uninsured populations differ in various areas of the state. For example, the area with the state’s highest uninsured rate is in south Texas in Hildalgo County at 30 percent. The lowest rate is in Collin County, Texas, north of Dallas, at 12 percent.
Researchers estimate that 15 percent of the uninsured under the age of 65 in Texas are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP health insurance. However, if Texas lawmakers expanded Medicaid or came up with an alternative plan to offer health insurance to low-income adults (earning up to $35,000 for a family of four), researchers estimate that 1.2 million uninsured Texans currently ineligible for assistance would be made eligible for free or very low cost coverage.
A recent EHF/Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that two-thirds of Texans said that the state is not doing enough to help low-income adult residents get needed health care, and the same majority favor expanding the state’s Medicaid program to cover more low-income adults.
Contact: Brian Sasser