Mississippi Health Insurance
Since it was signed into effect in March 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has made sweeping changes to the way health care works in the U.S. The earliest changes made under the law affected the way insurance policies could operate; for example, insurers are now prohibited from declining coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.
The law also requires that all insurance policies offer full coverage for certain preventive care and provide reasonable caps for out-of-pocket expenses.
In Mississippi, the law has been met with some political opposition. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Gov. Phil Bryant blocked efforts to form a state marketplace for residents to shop for ACA-compliant insurance. Many large insurance companies are refusing to participate in the national marketplace in some states. Mississippi monthly health insurance premiums are about $100 higher than the national average, according to the Mississippi Business Journal.
In 2015, the ACA will require companies with more than 50 employees to provide insurance to their workers. Individuals who do not qualify for employer-based insurance are required to purchase individual policies or pay a tax penalty. Health insurance exchanges, an accessible way to find coverage, enable people to compare and shop for plans.
What is a health insurance marketplace?
A health insurance exchange acts as a comparison site and broker for insurance policies. It is not an insurance company, but it works to provide individuals with the information they need to obtain the right insurance plan. Each state had the opportunity to establish its own insurance exchange or to partner with the federal site, HealthCare.gov.
Mississippi is one of 27 states that chose to use the federally run site rather than establish a separate state exchange. At this time, many insurance companies in Mississippi are reluctant to work with the exchange, and exchange-approved policies are not currently available in all counties.
Through HealthCare.gov, you can browse available Mississippi health insurance plans. To use the site, you will need to sign up for an account and answer a few basic questions about your lifestyle, income and family size. This will help match you to the best plans for your needs as well as help you determine whether you qualify for financial assistance.
Do I qualify for a Mississippi health insurance subsidy?
If you live in an area supported by the insurance marketplace in Mississippi, you may qualify for financial assistance to help pay your premium.
The federal government supplies a tax subsidy to individuals and families with incomes between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. This works out to between $11,490 and $45,960 for an individual and between $23,550 and $94,200 for a family of four. The higher your income, the lower the subsidy.
Health insurance companies participating in the Mississippi exchange
The following companies currently participate in the federal health insurance marketplace for Mississippi:
- Ambetter from Magnolia Health Plan
Health care for low-income families
As a response to the Affordable Care Act, some states have opted to expand Medicaid coverage to provide health care to low-income families. At this time, Mississippi has chosen not to expand Medicaid. However, aid is still available to children of low-income families in the state.
To qualify, a child’s family must earn between $1,369 and $1,838 per month, depending on the age of the child. Additionally, the Children’s Health Insurance Program of Mississippi offers health benefits to children whose families earn below $2,001 monthly. No Medicaid benefits are available to adults in this state.
Mississippi health and coverage statistics
Mississippi population (2013): 2,991,207
Population 65 and older (2012): 13.5 percent
Life expectancy (2010): 75.0 years
Number of Medicaid beneficiaries (2012): 590,000
Number of Medicare beneficiaries (2012): 392,100
Estimated number of uninsured residents (2012): 459,600
Overall state health ranking: 50
Sources: Kaiser Family Foundation, U.S. Census Bureau, America’s Health Rankings 2014 report.
Mississippi health insurance resources
Mississippi State Department of Health: http://www.msdh.state.ms.us/
Federal marketplace: https://www.healthcare.gov/
Mississippi Insurance Department: http://www.mid.ms.gov/
Kaiser Family Foundation: http://kff.org/tag/mississippi/