Health care! Get your health care (in October)!

News out this week provides more evidence that, with coverage, children do better. They have access to care, get timely and appropriate treatment and shield their families from financial distress. When children’s parents also have coverage, research shows these benefits are reinforced and strengthened. That’s why the new health insurance marketplaces available to all Texans are so important. Children’s and families’ long-term health and success are at stake. But what is this new marketplace? And how will it help a family get coverage?

Ever been to a website like Kayak or Travelocity? Notice how easy it was to customize exactly what you were looking for and compare cheap plane fares side by side for your convenience? No, I'm not trying to sell you airline tickets. I just find this is the best way to convince people how easy and transparent it is going to be to buy health insurance less than 100 days from now. That's because, despite Texas' best efforts, federal health reform is being rolled out right now.

For many low- to middle-income individuals and families, affordable, robust health coverage will be available to purchase October 1st in a brand new health insurance marketplace online. In fact, or, the federally constructed website is live right now to show families what options will be available in three months. After answering a few questions about yourself and what you are looking for your options will be customized for you with a handy checklist to get you ready for October. Prefer not to shop online? No problem. Health insurance navigators will be available in person or over the phone to help you choose what plan is right for you.

Certain individuals and families will even have access to subsidies to help them with their health insurance premiums. These premium tax credits can either be used to lower the cost of your monthly premiums or be collected as a lump sum come tax time. A family of four could earn up to approximately $98,000 a year and still qualify. Not only will your new health insurance be affordable, but it will be guaranteed to offer a basic foundation of coverage so you no longer have to purchase additional add-ons for essential care like maternity care or mental health and substance abuse services.

Many organizations are reaching out to Texans and could use volunteers to keep the conversation going right up until October 1st. Enroll America's Get Covered Texas campaign is hosting local events in many communities across the state. Texas Well and Healthy will continue to shareinformation on this new enrollment-focused resource page as it becomes available, giving you great opportunities to share with those in your community.

So spread the word! Recent polls suggest that nearly 4 in 10 Americans are unaware the Affordable Care Act still stands, and 80% of eligible Americans don’t know about their new health insurance options. With more than 1 in 5 Texans uninsured you are bound to know someone who could benefit from the information at

Written by: Clayton Travis, Texans Care for Children