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Insurance Exchange Fair Brings Hundreds

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 07 Oct 2013 08:51am | comments

The opening of the new health insurance exchange appears to have unleashed a title wave of demand in Mississippi.  Uninsured Mississippians are lining up to see if they qualify for health insurance.

 A worker at an Obamacare enrollment fair calls for the next person who is uninsured and interested in learning about their chances of getting insurance.

 The fair, which took place in Jackson, drew several hundred of Mississippians, both with and without insurance, who are looking for more information to potentially enroll in the new health insurance exchange.

 People like Jessica Gray, a 25-year old student who is uninsured.

 "I just really wanted to know my status. Even before my application is submitted, what hope do I have for January first if I can get qaulified. And it looks like I am on a good side. Hopefully I will be getting that assistance. And I am able to get evlauation properly as far as dental and my annual goals. So yeah, I am excited," Gray said.

 Many of the people interested in signing up are employed but their job doesn't offer insurance.

 Forty-two year old Wendell Edwards is a janitor who has been uninsured for years.

 "Yeah, I felt bad about it. Some folks don't take things serious. I am just checking myself to start taking care of myself and take things serious," Edwards said.

 Enrollment in the program is off to a bumpy start.

 High traffic made the website, which is the main portal to sign up, inaccessible for much of the first week.

 Still, Pamela Roshell with the U-S department of Health and Human Services  says the crashed website and crowded enrollment fair are signs that Mississippians are interested in getting insurance.

 "So far to date we have had over 7-million visitors come to just to get information. People want to be healthy and so we are not surprised by the insurance. It is really indicative of the fact you have some many people who want health insurance and want the right information," Roshell said.

 However, there is still a large group of roughly 180-thousand Mississippians who are too poor to receive federal subsidies but make too much money to enroll in Medicaid.

 Because state lawmakers decided not to expand the program, those residents are left without many options to obtain health coverage.




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