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Chaney ‘Betrayed’ By Insurance Exchange Decision

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 07 Feb 2013 09:17pm | comments
Commissioner Mike Chaney

The federal government will now run a health insurance exchange in Mississippi. The decision to reject a state run plan was announced yesterday. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that Mississippi is the only state to have its exchange blue print declined.

The Thursday decision follows more than a month long delay from the federal government over the future of Mississippi's proposal to run its own exchange.

Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney, who has been the driving force behind creating a state based exchange, says the decision is political.

"We have taken HHS and CCIO at face value that they would work with us but I fear that we have been unable to trust them at this point. And Americans need to be able to trust their government. I feel that I have been betrayed at this point," Chaney said.

The federal government says the split between Chaney and Governor Phil Bryant over whether or not to have a state run exchange is at the heart of the decision.

In a statement, Bryant praised the ruling saying the exchanges are not free market, and would drive more Mississippians onto medicaid which he believes would compromise the state's financial stability.

The decision means Mississippi will have a federally run exchange, which commissioner Chaney predicts will have disastrous consequences for the state insurance market.

"What you are going to see in the next twelve months is those premiums doubling. Maybe tripling. You are going to see a 3.5% tax charged by the federal government for every policy sold on the exchange that the feds have," Chaney said,

Work has been underway on an insurance exchange for years and Chaney is not sure what of those efforts will be able to remain and what will be scrapped or given to other parts of the country.

The commissioner is leaving the door open for the potential to run a state based exchange exclusively for small businesses.


Commissioner Mike Chaney



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