Texan adults are more likely to be uninsured and forgo care due to cost barriers than the average American, a new survey has revealed. More than 20 percent of Texans reported that they do not have access to health insurance, as against the national average of 13 percent.
- Unaffordability: The survey revealed that 21 percent of Texans are uninsured, compared to 13 percent of respondents to a separate October 2020 national survey. Additionally, 58 percent of Texans who lack health insurance say it is because they cannot afford it, compared to 53 percent of national respondents.
- No Medicaid expansion :According to Timothy Callaghan, Ph.D., assistant professor in the health policy and management department at Texas A&M School of Public Health, Texas is one of 12 states that have not adopted Medicaid expansion, and this is not likely to change any time soon. “Pundits have long hypothesized that Texas will turn purple, but you’d have to have a blue legislature and receptive governor for a Medicaid expansion,” he said.
- Low participation: The survey revealed that Texans also participate in public health insurance programs at much lower rates than the rest of Americans. 20 percent of Texans are enrolled in Medicare, compared to the national average of 25 percent. Similarly, just 7 percent of Texans are Medicaid beneficiaries, compared to 12 percent of national respondents.
- Costly care :Prescription drug costs are also driving Texans’ healthcare affordability struggles, with 11 percent of Texans ranking prescription drugs as their number one healthcare expense According to the survey, costly healthcare services are leading many Texans into debt. While 28 percent of adults nationwide say they carry medical debt, 36 percent of Texan adults report debt related to medical expenses.
- The harsh reality: “The reality is when you have a large uninsured population, you’re going to see people avoid seeking healthcare due to cost,” Callaghan explained. “For the most part, they seek out emergency room care, or some sort of clinic that accepts individuals without health insurance, which often results in very large out-of-pocket costs. The process becomes infinitely harder to navigate if you don’t have health insurance.”