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Insurers Tackle Texas Uninsured Market: Report

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While Texas legislators wrestle with the issue of covering the uninsured, insurers are trying to fill the gap, a research firm notes.

Humana’s “No Worry” product is the most recent submission to the market, becoming available in January in Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston for businesses with 51 to 99 employees, point out researchers at HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a unit of Decision Resources Inc., Waltham, Mass.

No Worry allows employers to choose from among 13 3-year packages, each presenting a combination of health insurance plans for years 1, 2 and 3. Humana guarantees the annual premium rate increase for medical insurance will not exceed 6% for the 2 subsequent years.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Texas is targeting middle-income uninsured Texans in the individual market, HealthLeaders points out. The Texas Blues worked with the Houston Uninsured Task Force last spring and summer to develop an inpatient hospital product, the Foundation Hospital Care Plan, to cover catastrophic events. The individually rated product features premiums running from $15 to $115 a month, depending on age and gender, with a lifetime maximum of $2 million in coverage.

The Texas Blues also recently completed an online promotion to benefit Project Access Dallas, a program devoted to helping provide basic healthcare services to uninsured residents of Dallas County. With this promotion, held between Nov. 29, 2006, and March 1, 2007, the insurer donated $1 to Project Access Dallas for each member who logged in to the Blue Access for Members Web site and chose to receive electronic versions of their explanation of benefits statements instead of paper versions. More than 13,000 members made the switch, reports HealthLeaders.

Texas has an uninsured rate of 24.2%, according to 2005 U.S. Census Bureau estimates.