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Enrollment in Health Insurance Exchange Continues

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 02 Oct 2013 08:41am | comments

The process of enrolling in private health insurance is now underway. Day one of enrollment featured an overloaded and inaccessible web site. Still, Mississippians who were once uninsurable are getting a chance to be covered again.

 Roughly 275,000 currently uninsured Mississippians can now sign up for federally subsidized private health insurance plans on the new health insurance exchange.

 People Like 31-year old Daryl Greenwood who has been without insurance for 10 years and unable to get coverage because he is a type-one diabetic.

 "It is a part of life. I don't blame any body for it. It is just one of the things that happened. Due to not being able to take care of myself it has been hard. That is why I came to see if this will help me so I can live a normal life without all this money coming out of my pocket," Greenwood said.

 Greenwood is one of the Mississippians that will be able to access private health insurance in the exchange, which is part of the federal health care reform law.

 Another is Regenia Byas, a 63-year old hair dresser who was priced out of the insurance market after surviving cancer.

 She is signing up despite being nearly Medicare eligible.

 "I don't want to wait a couple more years. Because I end up having cancer and that happened when I was 58 years old. So things can happen. So why should I wait when it is something that can be affordable for me to get," Byas said.

 The plans will be subsidized by the federal government to bring down monthly premiums to a range that Greenwood and Byas hope they can afford.

 The main way Mississippians will access the exchange is through a website, but access on opening day was restricted due to heavy traffic on the first day.

 However, enrollment is open for six months meaning residents will have lots of time to try again.

 Ed Sivac with the Mississippi Economic Policy Center says the exchange is a game changer for Mississippians who were unable to obtain or afford insurance.

 "For the first time ever really, thousands of Mississippians who are uninsured are now going to have access to good quality, affordible health insurance. This is something that is going to be really good for the state's economy. You are going to see people who can access care," Sivac said.

 Outreach efforts to the uninsured are just now cranking up, and it remains to be seen how many of the eligible Mississippians will enter the exchange.

 

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