September 29, 2022

Why Texas health insurance costs keep rising

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Insurance costs keep going up, and Texans are often paying more than people in other states.

The findings come from a new report from The Commonwealth Fund, which supports independent research on health care issues.

It found Texans spent more than 14.2% of the median income on premium contributions and deductibles. That added up to $9,311 in 2020.

In 2010, health insurance made up 12.7% of Texans’ median income.

“Texans are doubly disadvantaged. They’re paying more on average for their premiums and deductibles, and also have just lower median incomes on average,” said The Commonwealth Fund Vice President Sara Collins.

Just for family coverage in Texas, we pay an annual average of $6,950 in premiums. That’s the 9th highest state cost in the country and nearly $1,000 more than the average of $5,978.

Collins said rates keep going up because healthcare providers and drug companies are charging more than in the past.

“What’s predominantly responsible for those rising costs is how much providers are paid for those services, so how much hospitals charge for their services, how much doctors charge for their services,” she said.

When it comes to what can be done to lower costs, Collins points to some of the provisions in the Build Back Better Act.

“The Build Back Better bill that’s under consideration in Congress right now would actually make it possible for more people with expensive employer plans to get covered through the marketplaces,” she said. “If you’re contributing more than 8.5% of your income toward your premium and you’re in an employer plan, you would likely be eligible now for a marketplace subsidy.”

Collins also said it includes a provision that would allow employees who are eligible for Medicaid in Texas to have access to a public marketplace option.

The Build Back Better Act has passed through the House but is working its way through the U.S. Senate. President Joe Biden and Democrats have been working to get Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, to support the bill and help them pass it through the reconciliation process, which only requires 51 votes.

Health insurance costs keep rising in Texas — here’s why