Press Release: Texas Has Highest Number of Uninsured Hispanic Children of Any State

New Report Shows State Has Made Important Strides In Reducing Number of Uninsured; Advocates Look to Next Steps to Continue Reducing Uninsured Rate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Anat Kelman Shaw O: 713-664-4080, M: 832-488-8242

Austin, Texas – Texas still has the largest number of uninsured Hispanic children in the country although the number is declining, according to a new report released today. The report, co-released by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families and the National Council of La Raza assessed uninsurance rates of Hispanic children in all 50 states during the first year of the Affordable Care Act.

Texas had a 9 percent decline in the number of uninsured Hispanic children from 2013 to 2014; however, the report indicated that about 533,000 Hispanic children still remain uninsured – as many people as live in the entire state of Wyoming and more than half the population of Austin.

“Texas has an uninsured rate of 15.3 percent among Hispanic children, much higher than the national average of 9.7 percent. There is a clear need for improvement,” said Sonya Schwartz, a Research Fellow at the Georgetown Center. “We need to remove barriers and ensure that all children in Texas have the health coverage they need to be healthy learners.”

Children’s health advocates in Texas, including those from Texas Well and Healthy, a coalition comprising the Children’s Defense Fund-Texas, the Center for Public Policy Priorities and Texans Care for Children, pointed to the importance of enrollment access for not just children, but parents and other caregivers, too.

“We know that when we get parents enrolled, their children are more likely to get enrolled, stay enrolled and get the care they need to stay well. We also know that healthier children are more successful in school and in life,” said Dr. Laura Guerra-Cardus, Associate Director of the Children’s Defense Fund –Texas.  “It’s critical that we work to ensure every child has the health care they need to grow and thrive, and an important way to do that is to ensure parents can get covered, too.”

For years, Children’s Defense Fund-Texas has worked with school districts to ensure children get insurance by linking health enrollment with school enrollment, and encouraging families to look at coverage options through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, both of which allow parents to enroll their children at any time. The Marketplace enrollment period, which is open until January 31, also provides an important opportunity for many parents and other family members to get covered.

“As we start the new year, we are proud of the advances made but also know that Texas still has a lot of work to do to set all children up for success,” said Guerra-Cardus. “Expanding Medicaid to cover low-income working adults and educating parents about health insurance options available to them and their families will bring us closer to ensuring that all children can get the healthy start in life they need and deserve.”