The Texas Consumer Health Assistance Program, a state-run program meant to help consumers find affordable health insurance, is scheduled to be shut down this April after only a year of operation. The program was established in January last year with the help of a $2.8 million federal grant. More than 6,000 consumers had used the service to find insurance coverage and the program was responsible for over 160 events geared toward raising awareness of insurance options. Despite the benefits the program had brought consumers, however, it will be shutting down due to lack of federal support.
Congress has been unable to finalize the federal budget. Federal legislators have been wrangling with the issue for more than a year now, but have yet to find resolution to the budget problem. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, the state’s assistance program’s nine employees will be dismissed in April and the toll-free hotline will be redirected to the Department of Insurance.
Though the state’s assistance program is coming to an end, the Department of Insurance is still hard at work building a health insurance exchange that will provide consumers with access to affordable insurance policies. Consumers will have to wait until late 2013 at the earliest to make use of the exchange program, however, which could be problematic for those looking for insurance coverage right now.