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Healthy Texas insurance and cost sharing accounts

by Tony Novak, CPA, MBA, MT,   November 19, 2010


Financial help makes affordable insurance available to small businesses

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is using part of a $50 million federal grant to provide cost sharing accounts to help low-income working Texans purchase health insurance. The state will contribute 20% of the cost. Cost savings accounts are designed for Texans earning up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $66,000 for a family of four. Coverage is now available through a partnership between the state and UnitedHealthcare or Celtic Insurance Company. An annotated version of the statute governing this program is available at

The insurance and cost sharing accounts are available through Healthy Texas program and two other new programs not available through an insurance exchange:

  • TexHealth Coalition provides affordable health coverage to small businesses in Galveston and Central Texas. It will expand to Houston, Dallas, El Paso and the Brazos Valley within a year.
  • Community First Health Plan will begin offering a new coverage for small employers in Bexar County and seven surrounding counties in January.

These cost sharing accounts were originally designed to help low-income employees pay for insurance premiums or co-pays and deductibles but the two programs currently available on the Freedom Benefits insurance exchange use the funds only to reduce large medical claims and thereby keep the cost of insurance lower. For the employer, there will be no difference between Healthy Texas and any other private market health insurance plan they might purchase. Healthy Texas builds on the existing employer-based health insurance model, minimizing additional administrative costs. Healthy Texas also creates an infrastructure compatible with an insurance exchange model.

The Healthy Texas program does not have any impact on or connection to the federal small business health care tax credits that may also be available.

See these additional resources for more information:

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This web site is independently owned and managed by Tony Novak operating under the trademarks "Freedom Benefits", "OnlineAdviser" and "OnlineNavigator". Opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the author and do not represent the opinion of any other person, company or entity mentioned. Tony Novak is not an agent, broker, producer or navigator for any federal or state health insurance exchange but may provide uncompensated advice, reviews and referrals to these official resources. Novak is compensated as an accountant, adviser, affiliate consultant, marketer, reviewer, endorser, producer, lead generator or referrer to some of the other commercial companies listed on this site. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.