U.S. Census Bureau: Texas ranks highest in nation for people without health insurance

By Sarah Acosta - Reporter, Jennifer Galvan - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - A report released from the U.S. Census Bureau this week shows Texas ranks the highest when it comes to people without health insurance.

The report shows the number of people across the country without health insurance. It also shows 27.5 million people in the U.S. didn't have health insurance in 2018. In Texas, 5 million people didn't have insurance last year.

“If somebody goes, for instance, to the county hospital, the taxpayer ends up paying for that,” said Dr. Junda Woo, medical director for the Metropolitan Health District.

This is something Woo said happens frequently in Bexar County because one in six people in the county are not insured. She said this is not only expensive for taxpayers but also dangerous.

“This is especially dangerous when we're talking about women who are pregnant, when we're talking about our little children,” Woo said.

CentroMed — a nonprofit funded through federal, state and other nonprofit funds — has 30 locations across the San Antonio area that provide health services for low-income families that can apply for financial aid programs. Many of the nonprofit’s clients don't have health insurance. 

Joe Ibarra, who works with CentroMed, said there are several reasons why residents don't have insurance or don't apply for insurance using the Affordable Care Act. One of those reasons is that people don’t know their options.

“There's a lack of information; there's a lack of resources,” Ibarra said. “They just don't know for one reason or another, and so that all plays a part into why folks are not signing up or not utilizing the solutions that are out there.”

Ibarra said if you don't have health insurance, you can enroll through the Affordable Care Act this fall locally through the EnrollSA program.

He said it's important to make an appointment with EnrollSA, where someone can help guide you through the enrollment process.

Open enrollment runs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15.

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