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137-Thousand Mississippians Have Individual Health Insurance Plans

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 21 Nov 2013 04:32pm | comments

About 137-thousand Mississippians have private individual health insurance plans that are at the center of health care reform firestorm. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports many of these plans were set to be canceled because they failed to meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act.

The new analysis of Mississippi's insurance market comes from the pro-health care reform group Families USA.

The 137-thousand residents represents about five-and-a-half percent of the state population.

Ron Pollack with Families USA says most of the people currently purchasing private, individual health insurance will be able to purchase subsidized insurance on the health insurance exchange.

"Only approximately 0.6% of the non-elderly are at risk of losing their current individual health insurance and not receiving financial help to purchase a new plan," Pollack said.

Pollack says the plans are being canceled because they offered spotty, or non-existent coverage and ACA compliant plans will be much more comprehensive.

But many say they liked their previous plan.

"I have always had my own plan. And I have been pretty blessed to this point with good health. So it worked for me,"

33-year old Matthew Ingram of Clinton says he had a high deductible plan that cost him about 90-dollars a month....until he got a letter from his insurance company telling him that plan no longer met current standards.

"If i sign the waiver, then I would be extended on my current plan through the end of next year. Otherwise, I would otherwise go to this new plan. And the new plan was a 382% increase in my monthly cost," Ingram said.

A change to the ACA rules gives Ingram one more year to stay on his existing insurance, and he says he intends to go on the exchange to look for a new plan.

However, because of his income he will not likely be eligible for subsidizes, meaning his new plan will probably be more expensive, which Ingram says amounts to a 'good health tax'.

"Let's think about it. I am a health 33 year old male. I need to be on the ACA plan in order for it to be successful. To balance out the people who aren't as healthy," Ingram said.

Ingram has time to weigh his options, he won't have to make a decision until enrollment re-opens next October.

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