Mississippi Health Insurance Exchange Would Expand Access To Coverage
A healthinsurance exchange program proposed by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) wouldprovide workers at more than 50,000 small businesses with better access tohealth care, proponents of the plan say, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports. In addition, supporterssay the program would reduce businesses' overhead costs and allow employees topurchase a policy with pretax dollars.
Under the proposal, a not-for-profit agency, or some other agency establishedby the state, would serve as the clearinghouse for multiple health insuranceplans and other coverage options. State officials estimate that it would costabout $1.5 million to launch the program, and legislative action would beneeded to create the agency.
The program would target uninsured residents who do not have access to privatehealth insurance and do not qualify for Medicaid. Workers would purchasecoverage, which would be portable, and employer and employee contributions tohealth plans would be tax-free. Although legislation has not been drafted,lawmakers appear willing to work on the proposal, according to the Clarion-Ledger.However, Therese Hanna, director of the not-for-profit Center for Mississippi Health Policy, said the proposal would"improve accessibility but may not improve affordability" (Rupp,Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 2/4).
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