A steady stream of young patients enters Dell Children’s Medical Center each day, and with them are worried parents.
The hope is always that the ailment is nothing serious, but families without health insurance have another level of concern.
"We see it all the time where a child is uninsured, they come in and have an unexpected diagnosis and then a family is stressed to figure out how to get the treatment and follow up care," Kit Abney Spelce, director at insure-a-kid, said.
Spelce’s group helps uninsured families potentially eligible for CHIP and Medicaid apply for and enroll in coverage, but she says many get turned away.
"Today, a family may make a dollar more than the income eligibility requirements for CHIP and we don't have a good option that we can tell them," she said.
But starting Tuesday, when enrollment begins for mandated healthcare coverage, Spelce says that should change.
“In Travis County, we have 100,000 Texans without any health insurance and those are 100,000 people that, with a little bit of research and investigation, should be able to acquire health care insurance for them and their families," Bob Bonar, CEO of the Seton Family of Hospitals, said.
Texans looking for insurance can do so at Healthcare.gov. If you need additional assistance, Travis County will have more than 18 sites where trained volunteers can guide families through the enrollment application.
Governor Perry and Republican leadership in Texas have been big critics of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion—so much so that Texas did not open its own exchange. Instead, it was left to the federal government to run.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured people in the country.