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Mississippi Health Insurance

Mississippi Medical Insurance Overview

The state of Mississippi has its share of problems with regard to the health of the residents who live there.  This leaves a great deal of room for the improvement of the overall health of the population of Mississippi.  There are strengths in which the population benefits, but they are far outweighed by the state’s weaknesses.
With the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “ObamaCare,” the population of the state of Mississippi is likely to see a great deal of increased insurance coverage and lowered health risks.  Under the ACA, various provisions for the benefits of the residents in every state will be realized throughout the year 2020.

Mississippi’s Health Care Issues
The United Health Foundation ranks Mississippi in the 49th spot with regard to the overall health of the people living there.  The state’s strengths are its low disparity in health status by level of education, its low prevalence for excessive drinking and its low percentage of deaths related to drugs.

Challenges for the state’s overall health include its low immunization coverage for its population of adolescents, its high prevalence for people who favor physical inactivity and its high rate of premature deaths.

Understanding Mississippi’s Uninsured Population
In the year 2011, 19 percent of the population of Mississippi had no kind of insurance coverage.  In 2014, this number has decreased significantly to 12 percent.  Overall, there is a one percent difference in the uninsured population of Oklahoma as compared to the entire United States as a whole.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation offers the following information on the uninsured residents of the state of Mississippi.  The below percentages are based on the non-elderly uninsured residents of Mississippi:

  • 22% earn below 100% of the FPL
  • 15% earn between 100-199% of the FPL
  • 13% earn incomes between 200-399% of the FPL
  • 6% earn over 400% of the FPL

Basically, these numbers tell us that the lower the income level of the family unit, the more likely they are to be uninsured.  It also shows that despite earning higher amounts of money, six percent of people still don’t have health insurance coverage for some reason.

Group Health Plans
Group health benefits are typically the most common source of insurance coverage to people living in the state of Mississippi.  If you are working and are in need of health benefits, you should consult with your company’s person in charge of Human Resources.  The representative will fill you in on the company’s open enrollment period as well as the benefits packages available to you.  Employers offer health benefits to 40% of the population of Mississippi as of the year 2014.  If you are self-employed and want coverage under a group plan, you may be able to get assistance through a trade union.

Signing Up
Designated enrollment periods are the time periods of which you should enroll into your company’s group health plan.  You should consult with a representative from the human resources department in order to learn when this period occurs.  Your HR rep can also offer a wide range of information related to the plans offered under the group plan so that when the time comes, you can research each option and make an educated decision.

Consider each of the following points of interest before you sign up for insurance coverage through your employer’s plan:

  • Are you responsible for covering your spouse or dependents?
  • Is there enough coverage available for your medical needs?
  • Are you suffering from a pre-existing condition?
  • Do you earn enough money to pay for the insurance premiums?

Pre-Existing Condition Exclusion Periods
Even though you can’t be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition, you can be forced to wait for an exclusion period to pass.  In the state of Mississippi, the exclusion period can’t last longer than a year.

The look back period for insurance companies is six months so that they can determine if you have a pre-existing medical condition.  Exclusion periods do not apply to any of your dependents under the age of 19, so you won’t have to concern yourself with their medical situation if they have pre-existing conditions. Lastly, a genetic predisposition to disease or illness is not the same as a pre-existing medical condition and cannot be treated as such for the purpose of imposing an exclusion period.

Affiliation or Waiting Periods
Waiting periods go into effect for anyone getting insurance coverage through their place of employment.  If you enroll late, you can be made to wait out an affiliation period of up to three months, but otherwise the period of time is two months.

Individual Health Plans
Individual health insurance plans are available to self-employed individuals or people working for companies that don’t offer health insurance to their workers.  Individual insurance coverage is considered expensive, primarily because there is no employer-paid portion of the premiums, as in coverage through a group plan.  Also, because there is more risk on the shoulders of one person, these plans are expensive as opposed to group plans where the risk is spread out.

Five percent of residents in Mississippi enjoy health benefits under an individual insurance policy.  For those people who have pre-existing medical conditions, coverage can be limited and it tends to be a more costly insurance option overall.

Continuation Coverage
Continuation coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is available for up to 18 months for those who qualify.  In order to qualify, you must have lost your dependency status for insurance benefits, be divorced from a covered dependent and the company that provided the original policy must have a specific number of employees working for them.

Mississippi Health Benefit Exchange
The state’s Commissioner of Insurance, Mike Chaney, tried to create and implement a health benefits exchange on the state level.  Unfortunately, his plans were met by the opposition in the Republican Party that did not agree with the mandates required under the Affordable Care Act.
Since, the state has defaulted to allow its benefits marketplace to be managed by the federal government.  Residents can use healthcare.gov in order to research the state programs available and their various eligibility requirements.

Mississippi State Insurance Programs
In the state of Mississippi, there are many state-sponsored programs that exist to aid in providing benefits for people with low incomes, disabilities or pre-existing conditions.  If you have had trouble getting insurance coverage due to a pre-existing medical condition or can’t get coverage through your employer or an individual policy, a state-sponsored program will be your best bet for obtaining insurance.  Eligibility requirements for each program depend on your age, gender, health status and medical history.
The various programs available to individuals and families are listed below:

Mississippi Comprehensive Health Insurance Risk Pool Association
For residents who have had any trouble acquiring health benefits due to a pre-existing condition, there is the Mississippi Comprehensive Health Insurance Risk Pool Association.  People who receive coverage under this program can get prescription medications, limited mental health care, and alcohol and drug services.  Monthly premiums can range from low cost ($100/mo) to expensive ($1,086/mo) for those who qualify.

Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP)
PCIP is available for those who have been rejected for insurance coverage based on the presence of a pre-existing condition.  In order to be eligible for PCIP, you must have gone without insurance for at least six months prior to your enrollment.  Services included in this program are hospital care, primary care, specialty care and prescription medications.

Medicaid
Medicaid is a state and federal program that helps low income earners obtain a myriad of medical services for free or very little cost.

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
CHIP, along with Medicaid, provides medical insurance benefits to children and families who meet the income requirements.  Premiums are free in some cases, but in others are low cost depending on income level.

First Steps
This plan is available for infants without insurance and it provides nursing care, physical therapy, psychological services and nutritional counseling.  Premiums are typically free, but can cost a minimal amount toward the cost of expenses.

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
WIC is a free nationwide program that offers nutritional support to pregnant women and mothers.  It offers free food items, breastfeeding support and has immunizations for those who qualify.

Breast & Cervical Cancer Prevention
This is a cancer screening program available to women in the state of Mississippi.  Women can obtain mammograms, ultrasounds, breast biopsies and more.

Medicare, the Medicare Prescription Drug Program, and seniorxms.org
Medicare is guaranteed to seniors, individuals with end-stage renal disease and disabled people. To qualify for coverage, a senior must be over the age of 65 and have worked in a job that was covered by Medicare for at least a ten year period of time.  Seniorsxms.org is a counseling program that offers guidance to people looking to get coverage under the Medicare program.

VA Medical Benefits Package
This package is available only to military veterans who have completed 24 consecutive months in any branch of the armed forces and received an honorable discharge.

Partnership for Prescription Assistance
The PPA is a free nationwide program that offers to get people connected to services for help in paying the costs of prescription medications.

Mississippi Care for Yourself
If you are a woman between the ages of 13 and 44, you can obtain family planning services in the state of Mississippi.  Included in this program are educational services, medical examinations, lab tests and birth control.  Your eligibility is dependent on your level of income.

National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline
The National Association of Mental Illness Helpline is a free nationwide organization that connects the mentally ill with a team of volunteers who can connect them with educational resources.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
HIPAA provides a great deal of protections for consumers against the denial of benefits under a group insurance plan because of pre-existing medical conditions.  It also governs the length of time that you can be excluded from coverage, affiliation periods and costs for premiums.  COBRA coverage is also covered under HIPAA and allows for continuing insurance coverage because of a change in job or marital status.
With all of the benefits that HIPAA has brought into the health care landscape, it does not mandate the right for employees to be able to get medical benefits through the workplace.

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