Mississippi

Mississippi health insurance marketplace: history and
news of the state’s exchange

BCBS of Mississippi and Bright Health offering plans for 2018; cost of CSR added to silver premiums,making other
metal levels particularly affordable

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Louise Norris
Individual health insurance and health reform authority; broker
March 22, 2018

More Mississippi coverage

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    Insurance Guide
    • A guide to health insurance in
      your state.
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    Medicaid
    • Your state’s Medicaid expansion,
      eligibilty, contacts
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    Medicare
    • Insurance for those over 64
      (off-site)

Highlights and updates

  • 2018 enrollment down 4.6% from 2017
  • One insurer in 2017, but Bright Health joined in 2018
  • Average rate increase 15.6%, including added premiums to cover CSR cost
  • Cost of CSR added to silver exchange, other metal levels particularly cheap for some
  • 2018 rates and new insurer indicate death spiral no longer a danger

Mississippi exchange overview

By 2016, the uninsured rate in Mississippi had fallen to 11.8% while the national uninsured rate was only 8.6%. The state is one of the least healthy in America. Alabama, Nebraska, and Mississippi all tie with 94% of enrollees that receive subsidies. Mississippi was one of the states that chose not to expand Medicaid. Because of this, there are about 99,000 people in the Medicaid coverage gap. Instead of expanding coverage, Mississippi has asked the government to approve a work requirement for those who are already eligible for Medicaid. If the state receives this proposal, those parents from low-income families will be required to work in order to receive Medicaid. Adults with dependent children qualify for Medicaid only if their household income is 29% or less of the federal poverty level which is under $6,000 a year for a family of three.

Health Ratings

The Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health System Performance ranked Mississippi at 51st place. They scored poorly in Avoidable Hospital Use & Cost as well as Equity. The challenges include: physical inactivity, high premature death rate, high tobacco use, low birth weight, and children living in poverty.

In 2016, 108,672 residents chose a private health care plan and by 2017 that number dropped to 88,483. Most of those enrollees, 94% were receiving subsidies that averaged $380 a month.

Health Insurance Rates

Humana left the individual market for 2017 leaving Magnolia/Ambetter as the only insurer. Blue Cross Blue Shield still offers coverage but only outside the exchange. The average rate increase was 47.3% for 2018 due to the government ending funding for cost-sharing reductions.

 

Risks in Mississippi

The Mississippi Comprehensive Health Insurance Risk Pool was created in 1992 as another option for residents who were unable to purchase health care due to a pre-existing condition. However, by 2017 the need for the Mississippi Comprehensive Health Insurance Risk Pool was no more due to the Affordable Care Act.  

Medicare in Mississippi

Mississippi Medicare enrollment reached 560,344 in 2015 which was 19% of its population. Medicare spends about $10,005 annually per enrollee in Mississippi. About 14% of Mississippi Medicare recipients selected a Medicare Advantage plan instead of an original Medicare plan.

Louise Norris is an individual health insurance broker who has been writing about health insurance and health reform since 2006. She has written dozens of opinions and educational pieces about the Affordable Care Act for healthinsurance.org. Her state health exchange updates are regularly cited by media who cover health reform and by other health insurance experts.