Health Care In The States

Humana Fills Blank Spots In Mississippi Obamacare Map

By Jay Hancock

July 19th, 2013, 3:34 PM

Filling a potential coverage void, Humana Inc. said Friday it will sell health insurance in 36 Mississippi counties that might have otherwise been left out of a marketplace for subsidized policies sold under the Affordable Care Act.

“I’m elated,” said Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney, who had been working to make the deal happen. “I’m grateful. I’m thankful. Every word I could use to say I’m very pleased.”

The health law creates online marketplaces known as exchanges in every state to help consumers fulfill requirements to obtain coverage. But as the Oct. 1 opening date drew near for Mississippi’s exchange, not one insurer had applied to offer subsidized coverage in some of the poorest and most rural parts of that state. Humana’s agreement to expand its exchange offerings from four Mississippi counties to 40 ensures that at least one company will sell subsidized plans to individuals everywhere in the state, Chaney said.

“This builds on Humana’s current presence in the state of Mississippi, where Humana already covers well over 200,000 Mississippians,” Humana said in a prepared statement. “By working together with local health care providers, we believe we can enhance quality of care and improve health outcomes in the state.”

One of the challenges of covering Mississippi consumers is finding doctors in rural areas who agree to see a plan’s patients. Humana will probably use an existing network assembled by the Mississippi State Medical Association, Chaney said.

“I’ve got doctors that are really concerned about people not being covered in these 36 counties,” Chaney said. “So I can tell you it’s going to be a done deal.”

Chaney, a rare Republican working to implement the health law, said he worked closely with Gary Cohen, director of the U.S. Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, which is overseeing exchange development for the the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

“He has the ability to do things that other people cannot do,” Chaney said. “He gave me some additional time to get our ducks in a row. He gave me some thoughts about what he thought we could do” to get coverage in the at-risk counties.

One idea they were considering if Humana had not stepped in: Use Mississippi’s state-operated “high risk pool” — intended as a stop-gap for those with preexisting conditions until the exchanges start operating — to offer plans in the orphan counties, Chaney said.

6 Responses to “Humana Fills Blank Spots In Mississippi Obamacare Map”

  1. Tim says:

    We need to never forget that we are talking about Mississippi. When compared to all 50 states, Mississippi is tied for last place in every category related to healthcare. Mississippi legislators have never made healthcare a priority for its residents. I don’t expect to see Mississippi healthcare improve by much as a result of Obamacare. At least not while they keep re-electing Republicans. Mississippi is still in the Neanderthal era with regard to healthcare. Republicans deserve much of the credit for that.

  2. wilson says:

    Yes, Mississippi exists in a time warp. I think we can safely say that Mississippi will not arrive in the 21st century for several more decades. If they are lucky!

  3. Kay Tillow says:

    Mississippi will be covered like every other state when we pass HR 676, national single payer health care legislation. There is no excuse for leaving anyone behind when we have the the wealth and the capacity to assure all medically necessary care for every single person.

    The health crisis in Mississippi will not be solved by Humana. But it can be solved by publicly funding universal health care as HR 676 will do. Check it out at http://www.pnhp.org

  4. wilson says:

    Hey Kay,

    Really? Mississippi? You are joking, right? I have a news flash for you! Mississippi has regressive politicians just like they have in Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Wisconsin. All of the Neanderthal governors in the above states strongly oppose Medicaid Expansion and none of the Cro Magnon legislatures in the above states have any intention of moving forward with Medicaid Expansion. That includes Mississippi! Get it! Mississippi is as backward and regressive as all of the above states and they have no intention of providing healthcare for their growing numbers of poor people or people of color or women. Get real! Mississippi is stuck in a time warp just like the rest of the above hayseed backward states!

  5. Carol Miller says:

    It is not always bad news in Mississippi. Mississippi has great health leaders, model community health centers and a lot of people working every day to do the best they can to overcome barriers to provide quality care across the state.

    The Congress that wrote the badly designed Affordable Care Act were all Democrats, House, Senate, White House. Both parties have been keeping the people of the US from enjoying high quality universal health care for generations. Plenty of blame to go around.

  6. It’s quite sad to see how regressive politicians hold Mississippi behind and how residents are getting the short stick when it comes to healthcare because of that.

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