Texas Offers Limited Health Insurance Coverage for Low-income, Disabled, Students and Others

Texas leads the nation in uninsured residents. More than 23 percent of residents carry no coverage at all. And, for those who are insured, the quality of coverage falls well below the National Committee for Quality Assurance standards.

“Employer-based insurance is the backbone of health insurance, and that backbone is beginning to falter,” Edli Colberg told The Daily Texan. Colberg is a spokesman for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

Medicaid coverage is available to low-income families with children, pregnant women, the medically needy, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. For more information on Medicaid in Texas, call the Texas Department of Health (800) 252-6263.

Low-income children are also eligible for Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which offers medical services for free or subsidized fees. More information is available by visiting their website or by calling (800) 647-6558.

The state also offers Texas Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program for women needing screening tests. For more information, see their website or (512) 458-7796.

Texas Health Insurance Risk Pool is for those who are unable to obtain healthcare coverage or who lose employer-sponsored coverage. This high-risk insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions for a year, requires a $75 deductible for emergency room visits, and has a $100 deductible for prescription medications. The Medical Resource Guide estimates that a 35-year-old man eligible for the program pays $324 to $458 a month, while a 35-year-old woman pays $419 to $591 a month for coverage. For more information, call (888) 398-3927 or (800) 735-2989.

Some persons with disabilities under the age of 65 are also eligible for Medicare. Call you local Social Security Office, contact information available in the yellow pages, for more information on qualifying.

College students, particularly graduate students and returning students, often find the COBRA plans offered by a parent’s insurance or former employer’s insurance complicated and expensive. About half of the universities in the United States offer health insurance, ranging from calamity insurance to full benefits.

Students can also contact local insurance representatives for coverage plans, as rates and options vary greatly from place to place.

High deductible policies are one way to cut monthly premiums. Companies such as UniCare, Humana, and Blue Cross all offer such plans. Online businesses such as HealthQuoteFinder.com allow you to enter your information and receive up to five quotes at once from different agencies.

People from all situations, not just students, can also benefit from speaking to a local health insurance agent for no charge. This professional may be able to find a personalized plan that meets you needs and budget.

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