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More Than 800 Mississippians Fully Enrolled On The Exchange

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 11 Dec 2013 04:03pm | comments

More than 800 Mississippians have picked a health insurance plan on the new health insurance exchange. MBP's Jeffrey Hess reports that's a tiny fraction of the state's uninsured population.

34-year old Chrissy Valentine is a single mother who has been uninsured for five years.

But now she is one of the roughly 800 Mississippians who have shopped on the health insurance exchange and purchased private subsided insurance created as part of the federal health care reform law.

"I do work full time and I am a single mom and I really do need it. There are a lot of people in Mississippi that really do need it. And if they would just read up about it and get on the web site and get some quotes I think they would be really pleased," Valentine said.

Valetine says her premium is around 70-dollars a month and she is eager for the insurance to kick in because her 14-year old daughter struggles with migraine head aches that she currently can't afford to have treated.

As of the end of November, nearly 10-thousand applications have been completed on the federally run exchange, but the majority of those people have yet to select a plan.

Michael Hash with the department of health and human services says that is a sign that the exchange is working.

"As many more Americans learn about the options available to them at the market place, we have every reason to believe that interest will continue to grow and enrollment numbers will continue to rise," Hash said.

However, Mississippi has around 275-thousand uninsured residents eligible for the exchange.

Theresa Hannah with the Center for Mississippi Health Policy says the first two months of enrollment data reflect a very slow start.

"Most poeple don't know about the market place. They are very unfamiliar. They will say they are not aware of it. And then the problems with the web site have been pretty well publisized. So I suspect it is probably a combination of those two," Hannah said.

In addition, about 12-hundred Mississippians learned that they may be eligible for Medicaid...however, the vast majority will probably be unable to sign up because the state did not expand the program.

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