Mississippi health insurance exchange is the source of worry for regulators
Health insurance continues to be a controversial issue in the U.S. and Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney has begun expressing strong concerns over the Affordable Care Act’s ability to provide affordable coverage to consumers. The Commissioner has begun to voice his doubt as to whether people will actually be able to receive health insurance coverage when they enroll in the state’s health insurance exchange in October of this year. The state is had sought to operate its own exchange program, but has been met with federal opposition. In February of this year, the Department of Health and Human Services rejected the state’s plans for a health insurance exchange.
State not likely to manage own exchange system
Having received rejection for its exchange plan, state lawmakers were forced to make changes to the state’s approach on the issue of an exchange. While lawmakers are no longer keen for the state to operate its own exchange, Mississippi has been working to make changes in order to comply with the Affordable Care Act and a state-based exchange is expected to be operational by January 1, 2014. Open enrollment into the exchange will begin in October of this year. Insurance Commissioner Chaney claims, however, that consumers may not be able to find the coverage they seek through the exchange.
Federal exchange may not accommodate the needs of consumers
Part of the problem may be due to the fact that the state is not likely to manage the exchange program itself. If the federal government is allowed to do so, Chaney suggests that the health insurance policies sold through the exchange will not be designed to suit the needs of the state’s residents. As such, there may be a great deal of confusion concerning the types of coverage that are available to consumers. Chaney notes that because state lawmakers have grown less interested n managing an exchange system, Mississippi insurance regulators will have no power to regulate the health insurance rates and other costs associated with the exchange.
Consumers may not be able to afford coverage from federal exchange
Chaney suggests that allowing the federal government to manage the state’s health insurance exchange is likely to force consumers to pay more for the coverage they need. Without state regulators being able to supervise these costs, many consumers may be unable to afford coverage through the exchange program, thus leaving them uninsured.