Letter to Texas Legislators on Enrollment

With the Senate State Affairs holding a hearing on the ACA today, 19 organizations sent the following letter to all Texas state legislators urging them to inform their constituents about their health insurance options under the ACA.

Open enrollment for the Marketplace starts two months from today, running from November 15 to February 15.

The full text of the letter is below. You can download the pdf here.

September 15, 2014

State Representatives and Senators

Texas Legislature

Austin, Texas

Dear Representatives and Senators,

As the Senate State Affairs Committee meets today to discuss the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we encourage you to inform your constituents about their available options to obtain health insurance, particularly when the open enrollment period for 2015 coverage in the Marketplace starts just two months from today.

Although Texas state government has not been a partner in promoting the new health insurance options, many Texas families have benefited from the Marketplace and other aspects of the ACA. During the first open enrollment period, which ended in April of this year, 734,000 Texans signed up for coverage through the federal health care marketplace. Eighty-four percent of those Texans received financial assistance to make their insurance policies more affordable.

More Texans will enjoy the health protections and financial stability of insurance if Texas leaders commit to public outreach regarding these new health coverage options. Key points to share with your constituents include the following:

  • The next open enrollment period for the Marketplace will run from November 15, 2014 to February 15, 2015.
  • Texans can obtain insurance through the Marketplace outside of the open enrollment period if they change jobs, have a baby, get married, or experience another event that qualifies for a Special Enrollment Period.
  • Eligible children and pregnant women can sign up for insurance through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or Medicaid at any time.
  • Most Texans who purchase coverage through the Marketplace will qualify for financial assistance to make their insurance more affordable.
  • Texans can access the Marketplace by visiting healthcare.gov or calling 1-800-318-2596.
  • In-person assistance with enrollment is available in all major metro areas, and in many smaller cities and rural communities as well. Additional information is available to constituents through getcoveredamerica.org.
  • Texas workers who do not receive insurance from their employers and have an annual income below $24,000 for a family of four still do not have any affordable insurance options. They are not eligible for premium subsidies through the Marketplace and the legislature has not developed a Texas plan to accept federal Medicaid funding for low-wage adults. These workers should contact their local clinics and county indigent programs to find out if they qualify for services.

We appreciate your consideration and any steps you can take to inform your constituents about their health insurance options.


Simone Nichols-Segers
Government Activism Coordinator
National MS Society

Eileen Garcia
Chief Executive Officer
Texans Care for Children

Blake Hutson
Senior Associate, Health Reform
Consumers Union

Laura Guerra-Cardus, M.D.
Associate Director
Children’s Defense Fund-Texas

Bee Moorhead
Executive Director
Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy/Texas Impact

Sara E. Smith, JD
State Director
Texas Public Interest Research Group

José Eduardo Sánchez
Acting Southern Director
Young Invincibles

Tod Marvin
President & CEO
Easter Seals Central Texas

Anne Dunkelberg
Associate Director
Center for Public Policy Priorities

Lucy Ramirez
Chief Executive Officer
Nuestra Clinica del Valle, Inc.

Sonia Troche, MBA
Texas Regional Director
National Council of La Raza Miriam Nisenbaum

Executive Director
National Association of Social Workers – Texas Chapter

Ana R. DeFrates
Director, Texas Latina Advocacy Network (LAN) Policy & Advocacy
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

Phillip Martin
Deputy Director
Texas Research Institute

Ann Williams Cass
Executive Director
Proyecto Azteca

Liz James
Chief Executive Officer
Lesbian Health Initiative of Houston, Inc. (LHI)

Phylis Peters
Proyecto Juan Diego

Ginny Goldman
Executive Director
Texas Organizing Project

Katy Caldwell
Executive Director
Legacy Community Health Services