Action Needed to Help Unemployed Texans Access Health Insurance Assistance in the Recovery Act

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Stacey Pogue /(512) 320-0222 x 117

March 30, 2009

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Only half of Texans get health insurance coverage through an employer—one of the lowest rates in the nation. Access to employer-sponsored health insurance will decline as the recession deepens and companies cut jobs. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (federal economic recovery act) includes a temporary COBRA and state continuation premium reduction to help recently unemployed workers and their families maintain private health insurance coverage while they seek new jobs. However, the Texas Legislature must make modest change to our state insurance laws to help Texans losing job-based coverage maximize federal premium assistance. These changes, which require no state general revenue dollars, will help more Texans keep private health insurance and prevent some Texans from joining the growing ranks of the uninsured.