Health Reform Monitoring Survey – Texas, Issue Brief #4: The Affordable Care Act and Hispanics in Texas
A central goal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is to improve access to affordable health insurance coverage for millions of Americans. Hispanics make up 39% of the Texas population and account for a disproportionate share of the 6 million uninsured Texans. Census data from 2012 indicate that 39% of Texas Hispanics were uninsured, compared to 17% of Whites and 22% of Blacks. The ability of Hispanics to obtain affordable health insurance under the ACA is important if we are to reduce the overall rate of uninsured residents in Texas. In September 2013, we surveyed Hispanic and non-Hispanic White Texan adults to assess their needs for the kinds of improved access to health care and health insurance promised by the ACA, and we surveyed them again in March 2014 to see if improvement had been realized. We find that during both periods, Texas Hispanics had more trouble accessing and affording health services than White Texans. On the eve of the opening of the Health Insurance Marketplace, Hispanics were more optimistic than Whites that their ability to obtain affordable health services would improve in 2014. Toward the end of the first open enrollment period, our data indicate that a significantly larger percentage of Texas Hispanics had enrolled in health plans through the Marketplace than their White counterparts.