Together, We’re Ensuring More North Texans Can Access Health Insurance
Texas has the lowest healthcare enrollment rates in the nation, with 16.6% of all residents not enrolled in healthcare coverage. Research shows a lack of health insurance can significantly impact people’s health outcomes.
At United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, we recognize that access to healthcare coverage enables North Texans to live longer, healthier lives. As we work to improve access to education, income and health, we lead and invest in programs that improve access to health coverage—because good health affects everything from how well a student does in school to how successful an adult is in their career.
One of our Aspire United 2030 community goals is to increase to 96% the number of North Texans with access to affordable healthcare insurance. With open enrollment for 2024 insurance plans running Nov. 1 through Jan. 16, this is the perfect time to take a look at how our Healthcare Navigator program expands access to healthcare, the impact of this important initiative and how you can get involved.
A History of Low Enrollment
Historically, about 20% of Texas’ population lacks health insurance in a given year. Even as the average cost of premiums through the Health Insurance Marketplace has fallen due to subsidies, many Texans have opted to not sign up. For example, only 30% of those in our state who were eligible for a subsidized plan in 2020 signed up.
This tradition of low enrollment rates hurts our state in several ways. In North Texas, 33% of Latinx, 15% of Black, 11% of Asian 8% of white individuals don’t have health insurance. This contributes to poor health outcomes and higher costs for people of color in our community.
On a broader scale, Texas’ high uninsured rate might be negatively affecting the state’s economy. A study by the Texas Alliance for Health Care found that uninsured employees tend to have worse health, which limits their earning potential. Meanwhile, a lack of coverage increases absenteeism and sidelines skilled workers, which hurts employers.
Today, More Texans Are Accessing Health Insurance
Over the last few years, Texas has begun seeing many more people signing up for insurance. In 2022, our state led the nation in the number of new signups through the Marketplace, with 2.4 million people getting enrolled. In the early months of 2023, nearly 570,000 new Texans signed up for affordable health care plans—also the largest jump in the nation.
This upswell of signups is due to a variety of factors. Notably, the federal government has continually increased subsidies for coverage through the Marketplace, which has brought health insurance within reach for many of our neighbors with a low income.
Daniel Bouton, vice president of family and community health at United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, said the new subsidies—and greater public awareness of the lower cost of health insurance—is driving more interest in health insurance. And people are saving significant amounts of money each month.
Last year, 94% of Texans signing up through the Marketplace received subsidies for their premiums. The average premium was $60 a month, but many people paid $10 or less after tax credits.
Healthcare Navigators Make Enrolling Easy
In North Texas, another factor in this increased enrollment has been the support of United Way’s Healthcare Navigators initiative.
United Way of Metropolitan Dallas leads the North Texas Consortium, a network of local community organizations dedicated to increasing health insurance coverage in our community. Through this program, our Healthcare Navigators assist uninsured North Texans as they compare and enroll in plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace, CHIP or Medicaid. Navigators also work with individuals to get them signed up for all eligible subsidies, saving many North Texans hundreds of dollars every month.
Through this free program, an individual can work with a certified Healthcare Navigator to compare health plans, understand their benefits options, select the best qualified health plan for their needs and apply for subsidies to lower their monthly premiums. Navigators can also assist people who are looking to transition from CHIP or Medicaid to the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Last year, our Healthcare Navigators assisted tens of thousands of North Texans, helping more people access the health coverage necessary to thrive. The Navigators had a significant impact on our community, fielding 52,133 client inquiries, assisting 6,703 individuals as they signed up for CHIP/Medicaid and supporting 1,250 consumers as they enrolled in a qualified health plan.
For clients like Diana, who has a heart condition, working with a Healthcare Navigator took the stress out of the enrollment process, and having insurance has removed a big source of worry.
“My experience signing up was not hard at all,” she says. “To me it was like a load lifted off, knowing that I was covered in case anything happens or just for my routine visits.”
Open Enrollment Runs Nov. 1 to Jan. 16
If you need health insurance for 2024, you can enroll in a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace starting Nov. 1. There are two important deadlines to keep in mind depending on when you want your coverage to start:
- For coverage to start Jan. 1: Enroll by Dec. 15, 2023.
- For coverage to start Feb. 1: Enroll by Jan. 16, 2024, which is the last day of open enrollment.
Visit HealthCare.gov to get started.
If you’re interested in working with a Healthcare Navigator (at no cost to you), our team is available to assist you:
- Compare health plans
- Understand your benefits options
- Select the best qualified health plan for your needs
- Apply for subsidies to lower your monthly premiums
- Connect to additional resources and services
Visit unitedwaydallas.org/enroll or call 214-978-0042 to sign up for free assistance today.
Support Expanded Healthcare Access in North Texas
By improving access to affordable, high-quality health insurance, we can support North Texans in every area of their lives—ensuring children can succeed in school, workers can excel in their careers and individuals of all ages can access the resources necessary to live longer, healthier lives.
Ready to invest in lasting change? Here are three ways you can get involved today:
- Make a one-time donation. Your investment in United Way of Metropolitan Dallas supports our work to improve access to education, income and health, creating a stronger, more equitable community. Click here to make a donation.
- Sign up to become a recurring donor. With a recurring gift to United Way, you can help ensure our programs and partnerships are funded over time, which creates an impact that can last for generations. Click here and select “monthly” to make your pledge.
- Join a United Way Giving Society. Signing up for a Giving Society is a powerful way to expand your impact while connecting with other change-seekers who share a common goal of improving education, income and health in our community. Click here to learn more about our Giving Societies.
Together with supporters like you, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas ensures more of our neighbors benefit from the support of Healthcare Navigators, which significantly increases the chances they will enroll in health insurance. With an investment in United Way, you can help fund programs like Healthcare Navigators and expand health access across our region.
Find Affordable Health Insurance
Looking for healthcare coverage? Open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace runs through Jan. 16. Our Healthcare Navigators can support you as you search for and enroll in a plan and apply for all available subsidies. Call 214-978-0042 or click below to sign up.