New health insurance legislation passed in Texas

Texas Health Insurance Program

Health insurance cards for policies sold through state exchange will have a QHP label

New legislation in Texas will place a special label on all health insurance cards for those that have purchased plans through the state’s exchange. This label — QHP — will be affixed to insurance cards to denote that policyholders have purchased coverage through the state’s exchange. The label stands for “qualified health plans,” which are policies that are approved to be sold through the health insurance exchange marketplace. This may serve as a “teachable” moment for health care providers and consumers alike.

Legislation will provide an opportunity to remind consumers about insurance premiums

Health care groups that have supported the legislation claim that it will help physicians remind their patients that they should pay their insurance premiums every month. One of the victories of the Affordable Care Act is that it made health insurance much more accessible to consumers throughout the country. One of the problems, however, is that many of these people are forgetting to pay their monthly premiums. At times, this is due to confusion concerning the subsidies that they receive from the federal government, but many people are simply unaware of the fact that they must pay premiums every month because they have never had insurance coverage before.

Insurers can still charge for medical services during grace period

Texas Health Insurance ProgramOne of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act has established a 90-day grace period, during which insurance companies must continue providing coverage even if their policyholders have not paid premiums. If coverage is used within the last 60 days of this grace period, however, insurers will be able to charge health care providers for their services. The legislation will allow physicians to explain the situation to those with policies purchased through the state’s insurance exchange.

Some question the value of the new legislation

Critics of the legislation call into question its value, as it simply affixes a label to insurance cards, noting that they have been purchased from the exchange and that the policyholder is likely receiving federal subsidies. An estimated 85% of consumers that have purchased health insurance policies through the state’s exchange currently receive subsidies from the federal government, helping cover the costs of these policies.

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