P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 2009
AUSTIN — The Texas House of Representatives today approved legislation by State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, establishing TexLink, an office at the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) devoted to connecting more Texans to private health insurance. SB 78 returns to the Senate with an amendment before moving to the governor's desk.
"There are several barriers to health insurance in our state, and one of them is education. The mission of this office will be to go out into our communities and inform the general public and our employers about the different health care plans that are available in Texas. This will be a great resource for our small businesses, who might be willing to provide insurance to their employees but do not have the knowledge about where to start researching plans," Senator Nelson said.
Specifically, this office will:
- link consumers with information about health plans in Texas;
- educate the public about the importance and availability of health coverage, focusing heavily on outreach to small businesses;
- create a toll-free hotline to inform the public about insurance available in Texas;
- ensure that this hotline is provided to 2-1-1 callers who do not qualify for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program;
- and work with communities to develop local coverage options.
The House today also passed SB 79 by Senator Nelson, creating an optional certification process for insurance agents, signifying that they have specialized training in connecting health insurance to small employers. It also directs TDI to post a list of certified agents on the Department's website to help small businesses locate local agents with these credentials.
"Connecting small employers with those who know the business, we are making it easier for them to obtain health coverage, which helps us with our goal of expanding access to care in Texas," Senator Nelson said.