Mississippi health insurance tips

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Mississippi insurance law and regulation

The Mississippi Insurance Department Web site contains help sections for each type of insurance including a section for consumers requesting assistance or filing an insurance complaint.  The Web site has not yet developed resources to help individuals find commercial low cost health plans like mini-med or core coverage, specific illness policies, Supplemental Accident Insurance and basic health insurance.

The state insurance department can be reached by telephone at 334-269-3550 or by mail at 1001 Woolfolk State Office Building 501 North West Street Jackson, MS 39201. The state children’s health insurance plan (CHIP) Web site is Mississippi Children’s Health Insurance Plan.

News that affects your health insurance and planning

 

 

The history of health care planning in Mississippi (Information is outdated and links may be expired)

11/15/2014 The health insurance exchange is now open for coverage starting in 2015. Specific information on the Health Plans offered to businesses throughOne,Mississippi including a link to check for providers who participate in each of the Plans at www.uhc.com/shopms.

2/11/2014 Professional support for any health care reform issue is available free of charge through an arrangement with OnlineNavigator. All online inquiries are handled personally by Tony Novak, CPA. Online support is available through a number of popular social media channels including Facebook and Google+ as well as e-mail. Telephone support for insurance enrollment is available through Members Insurance Exchange at (800) 609-0683.

10/9/2013 Mississippi will have its small business health insurance exchange called One Mississippi to provide coverage to small business owners pursuant to the ACA in 2015.

7/26/2013 Affordable Smart Term Life Insurance is now available to most Mississippi residents from age 20 through 60 directly online with no physical exam, agent appointment or telephone verification. Most policies are issued on the same day with coverage amounts of $25,000 up to $350,000. The level premium life insurance is available for terms of 10, 15, 20 and 30 years. Sample rates for $150,000 coverage for a preferred risk male age 30, non-tobacco $30.85 per month; tobacco user $49.55 per month. A preferred risk female age 30 non-tobacco user would be $26.49 per month and a tobacco user would be $40.96 per month. Rates are higher for older applicants and lower health risks as described online. Pricing is based on input you provide about your medical history but, unlike most other life insurers, does not consider family medical history. Coverage is issued by innovative National Life Group, rated “A” by A.M. Best Company for 2013.

3/11/2013 This page was updated to include a link to the insurance plan that will be used to determine specific “essential health benefits” for insurance that qualified for 2014 federal tax purposes. Also, a link to additional covered benefits required by state law. Non-qualified insurance is likely to continue to be available at a lower cost that does not include these benefits nor qualify for federal tax purposes.

8/14/2012 Mississippi will be ready to launch its own health insurance exchange provided that President Obama wins re-election in November according to the state’s insurance commissioner Mike Chaney. Chaney pushed for laws that would increase the number of state residents who purchased health insurance in his former position as state legislator. Expanding health coverage in Mississippi is especially important because Mississippi was again named as the state with the highest percentage of obese residents. Almost 35% of the state’s residents are now obese according to a report issued today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Obesity is associated with higher medical expenses for treatment of a wide range of expensive medical issues including heart disease and diabetes. With or without insurance, the financial impact of treating these medical conditions can be life-altering. Freedom Benefits recommends supplemental coverage in addition to major medical insurance, disability income insurance and adequate life insurance for working adults.

4/27/2012 – UnitedHealthcare named Gulfport and Hattiesburg Mississippi as a top insurance growth markets for affordable health insurance based on a study of individual health insurance rates across the country. The study was designed to uncover areas of  opportunity for consumers to save money by switching to one of the innovative plans offered through UnitedHealthOne.

2/1/2012 The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, a division of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)reported that as of June 30, 2011 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi and UnitedHealthcare are the state’s largest health insurance providers and as such, earn the right to set the benchmark for the development of the state’s essential benefit plans to debut in 2014 under health reform law.

2/12/2011 With dozens of health plans choices available online offering a wide range of pricing and benefits, how do you find the best combination of price and benefits? Celtic Insurance realizes that the choices can be overwhelming; the company offers more than 40 possible health plan designs in many parts of the United States. A new feature called “Help Me Choose” lets users easily and quickly select the benefits they value most and narrows the list down to a few of the best choices. No personal information is required other than zip code and date of birth.

2/7/2011 The state’s pre-existing condition insurance plan (PCIP) monthly premium rates (per person):

Plan/Age Band
0-18
19-34
35-44
45-54
55+
Standard
$149
$224
$269
$343
$477
Extended
$201
$301
$361
$462
$642
HSA
$155
$233
$279
$356
$496
PCIP will cover a broad range of health benefits, including primary and specialty care, hospital care, and prescription drugs. All covered benefits are available for you, beginning on your coverage effective date, even if it’s to treat a pre-existing condition – there are no waiting periods. PCIP applicants who are approved to participate in PCIP can choose from three plan options, with different levels of premiums, calendar year deductibles, prescription deductibles and prescription copays. The HSA Option provides an opportunity to open a Health Savings Account, a tax-exempt account where you can deposit funds for eligible medical expenses. Each of the three PCIP plan options provides preventive care (paid at 100%, with no deductible) when you see an in-network doctor and the doctor indicates preventive diagnosis. Included are annual physicals, flu shots, routine mammograms and cancer screenings. For other care, you will pay a deductible before PCIP pays for your health care and prescriptions. After you pay the deductible, you will pay 20% of medical costs in-network. The maximum you will pay out-of-pocket for covered services in a calendar year is $5,950 in-network/$7,000 out-of-network. There is no lifetime maximum or cap on the amount the plan pays for your care. If you apply for PCIP coverage on the government Web site, you will be billed for the premium once your application is approved. You will need to send in your payment in order for your coverage to be effective. Please do not send in the premium before you are billed. Note that your premium may increase if you age into a higher rate tier, or if PCIP adjusts its premiums to any changes in the commercial market.

12/16/2010 Mississippi Insurance Department officials met representatives of 44 other states and numerous employees of the federal Health and Human Services Department in Washington DC this week for a two-day working meeting to discuss the next steps in establish a government-run health insurance exchange under the American Health Benefit Exchange Model Act. Their attendance at this meeting was paid for by a $1 million federal grant awarded by HHS in September to the state for research how to set up an insurance exchange. Two states (Alaska and Minnesota) declined to participate, saying that it was a waste of taxpayer money. Four other states (not identified in press reports) that received federal grants did not send representatives to the meeting. Attendees included representatives of 16 states that are suing the federal government in an attempt to overturn the federal health reform law; specifically the requirement that forces individuals to buy health insurance on the insurance exchange or pay a hefty tax fine.

In its initial federal grant request for the insurance exchange project, Mississippi said that it would: 1) Conduct a comprehensive analysis of the health insurance market in Mississippi, including research to determine the number of uninsured in the State, those potentially eligible for the Exchange, those eligible for Medicaid, or those with employer coverage but not currently enrolled, 2) Utilize the Mississippi Health Insurance Exchange Study Committee as key stakeholders for involvement in the planning for the design and implementation of an Exchange. Additional stakeholders will be identified and asked to participate in the Committee, 3) Determine how the Exchange can work with existing State and Federal programs in order to coordinate eligibility and enrollment with Medicaid, CHIP and other programs, 4) Determine governance, implementation, and operation requirements in order to decide whether to create an Exchange at the State, regional, or federal level, 5) Identify funding requirements and determine resources to operate the Exchange, including fees that will be required, subsidies and tax credits that could be applied, and an accounting system for financial management and reporting, 6) Assess the current technical infrastructure available and determine the required resources needed to develop a web portal and/or call center to meet the increased need for consumer education and participation, and 7) Determine the need for additional legislation and/or State regulations.

The meeting reportedly did not address the role of the commercial health insurance exchanges on the implementation of new competing government systems. The model act does not address inter-state insurance exchange proposals nor insurance sales across state lines. Federal officials admitted that they may not be able to provide further guidance until 2012. Meanwhile, most states are motivated to continue to meet requirements to obtain additional funding promised by the federal government for the establishment of insurance exchange by 2014. Freedom Benefits has previously voiced the opinion that the huge amount of money being spent to set up alternate insurance sales system technologies could be better used providing health benefits to the public. We proposed on the Universal Health Insurance blog that adequate commercial insurance sales systems are already in place that could be modified in a public/private partnership to make health insurance more affordable.

5/14/2010 Diabetes Coverage: A new resource to help find health insurance for diabetics in Mississippi is now available at Freedom Benefits.