Bad news in Mississippi for the uninsured

Interesting story at Kaiser Health News about many counties where no policies will be available in the exchanges:

Tens of thousands of uninsured residents in the poorest and most rural parts of Mississippi may be unable to get subsidies to buy health coverage when a new online marketplace opens this fall because private insurers are avoiding a wide swath of the state.

No insurer is offering to sell plans through the federal health law’s marketplaces in 36 of the state’s 82 counties, including some of the poorest parts of the Delta region, said Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney.

As a result, 54,000 people who may qualify for subsidized coverage would be unable to get it, estimates the Center for Mississippi Health Policy, a nonpartisan research group.

These are, of course, many of the countries with the highest levels of uninsured people. They also seem to have the most problems with quality and access.

Mississipi’s insurance commissioner wanted to run the exchange at the state level. That might have allowed Mississippi to make rules that required insurance companies to offer coverage in all counties if they wanted to participate in the exchanges. But evidently, the governor of the state fought hard against him to make sure that the state would not be involved. So the feds are running Mississippi’s exchange, and this type of selective offering at the county level may be permissible.

It appears that Mississippi is also not going to get the Medicaid expansion, and it’s traditional Medicaid seems jeopardized as well. Things don’t look good for the poor uninsured there.


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