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10/25/12

Texas leads nation in uninsured citizens News The Prospector University of Texas at El Paso

Texasleadsnationinuninsuredcitizens
ByPamelaPrieto Published:Wednesday,June24,2009 Updated:Monday,January18,201010:01
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TheUniversityofTexasatElPaso|

OneofthemostpressingitemsduringPresidentBarackObama'sadministrationhasbeenthereformofhealthcoverage.Whilethe issuehascausedadebateonwhetherthegovernmentshouldinstituteanationallyimplementedprogramversusahandsoffapproach tothegovernment'sinvolvementinpeople'smedicaldecisions,theissueandthesolutionscouldhaveagreatimpactonTexasand specificallyonthelivesofUTEPstudentsandtheirfamilies. Astudyreleasedin2006andrevisedin2008,titledCodeRed:TheCriticalConditionofHealthinTexas,revealedthatthestate containsthehighestnumberofuninsuredresidentsinthenation.About25percentofTexansarewithouthealthinsurance,compared tothenationalaverageof15.7percent. Theauthors,whoweremembersoftheTaskForceonAccesstoHealthCareinTexas,foundthat,"Texashasnottakenfulladvantage ofavailablefederalmatchingfundstoreducetheburdenofprovidinghealthcarefortheuninsured,"andthatthestate'scurrent"county basedapproachtodeliveryofhealthcareisinadequateandinequitable." Inanotherreport,titledHowHealthyAreWe?SelectedHealthMeasuresforElPaso,Texas2008,HectorReyesJr.foundthatin2006 thepercentageofElPasoanswhowerenotinsuredcomprisedabout40percentofthecounty'spopulation.ReyesisaUTEPgraduate studentcompletingaresearchassistantshipundertheMasterofPublicHealthProgram. "Thehealthcaresystemisbroken,"saidJoseManuelMuoz,aUTEPbusinessgraduate."Comparedtoothercountrieswehavethe bestservicesintheworld,buttheyarenotreadilyavailable." Muozcurrentlyhasnohealthcoverage.Healsosaidthatnothavinghealthinsurancemighthavebeenamistakeonhispart. "Amonthago,IhadhealthissuesandIhadanoperation.SomaybehealthinsurancemighthavebeenagoodideabecausenowI havetopay$25,000,"Muozsaid. TheCodeRedstudystatedthatthesinglemostprevalentreasonforpersonalbankruptciesamongTexansismedicalexpenses. LayraReza,amechanicalengineeringgraduatestudent,nowhashealthbenefitsthroughUTEP'sgraduateschoolstudentemployee program. "WhenIwasastudent,Iwouldget(insurance)throughmydad'semployer,otherwiseitwouldbeimpossibletopayforit,"Rezasaid. "It'ssomethingthatshouldbeavailableandit'snot.Mostofthetime,thepeoplewhodon'thavetheresourcesaretheonesthatare uninsured." AtUTEP,onlyinternationalstudents(exceptthosefromMexico)arerequiredtohavehealthcarecoverage.Theonlyinsurance providerthatisUTSystemapprovedforinternationalstudentsinElPasoisavailablethroughJDWInsurance. "Therearenohealthquestionsoranything,"saidLisaVeliz,JDWInsuranceaccountexecutive. Sheaddedthatstudentsareguaranteedcoverage. Theplanisalsoavailablefornoninternationalstudentsandcanbepurchasedonasemesterorannualbasisat$429persemester. Theplanincludesa$300deductibleandtheprovider,UnitedHealthCare,pays80percentoftheincurredmedicalexpenses. "Istilldon'tthinkIwouldbuyit,"saidReginaMartinez,prenursingsophomore. MartinezhashealthcarecoverageinCiudadJurezthroughtheplanherfatherreceivesfromhisemployer. "Formetopaythatseemsdifficultfinancially,"Martinezsaid. Untilthenationalhealthinsuranceissuereachesaconclusion,UTEPstudentshavelimitedchoicesregardingtheircoverageneeds.If theycanaffordit,privateinsuranceisoneoptioniftheycan'tandtheyareeligible,Medicaidisanother.

www.utepprospector.com/news/texasleadsnationinuninsuredcitizens1.1035055?compArticle=yes

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10/25/12

Texas leads nation in uninsured citizens News The Prospector University of Texas at El Paso

Athirdoption,theTexHealthCoalition3SharePlan,won'tbeavailableinElPasountillate2009,butitisfocusedonhelpingsmall businessesprovidecoveragefortheiremployees.Thisplanwillaimtodividethecostofmedicalexpensesbetweentheemployee,the employerandathirdparty,eitheranonprofitorganizationoragovernmententity. PresidentObamawillhostaspecialeditionofPrimetimeattheWhiteHouseJune24,wherehewilldiscussthefutureofpublichealth care.Theprogramwillbetelevisedat9p.m.onABC(locallyKVIAchannel7,cablechannel6). CodeRed researchfindings WhoaretheuninsuredinTexas? 79percentofuninsuredTexansworkorhaveaworkingfamilymember 7682percentoftheuninsuredinTexasareU.S.citizensNoncitizensconstitute1824percentoftheuninsuredinthestate 68percentofnonpooruninsuredTexansarewhite,nonHispanicindividuals WhyaresomanyTexansuninsured? Theaveragecostofhealthinsurancepremiums($9,100annually)isalmosthalfofthefederalpovertylimit MostadultsdonotqualifyforMedicaidinTexas TexasChildren'sHealthInsuranceProgramcoverschildreninfamiliesthatearnlessthan200percentofthefederalpovertylevel,but doesnotprovidecoverageforadults PamelaPrietomaybereachedatprospector@utep.edu.

www.utepprospector.com/news/texasleadsnationinuninsuredcitizens1.1035055?compArticle=yes

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