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‘Navigators’ In Place To Help Mississippians In Insurance Exchange

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 03 Sep 2013 06:32am | comments

In less than a month, uninsured Mississippians can begin signing up for federally subsidized private health insurance on the new health insurance exchange.

 It's estimated that 275,000 Mississippians are eligible to purchase insurance on the exchange, which is part of the federal health care reform law.

The people who will help uninsured residents purchase insurance are called Navigators, including 17 at the University of MIssissippi Medical Center.

 Chad Feldman directs the team at UMMC.

 "And so when we saw this opportunity we wanted to be prepared. Because we know we are going to get that question. With the large volume of uninsured patients that we see we knew we were going to get that question 'what is the exchange and what does it mean to me'," Feldman said.

 The federal government is spending more then one million dollars on Mississippi navigators, at UMMC and a church that will send pastors into the delta.

 The navigators are in a delicate position because they will not only have to talk about a patient's medical history but their finances as well says Feldman.

 "We always approach this as patient advocacy. We are trying to assist the patient because they are going to get that bill whether we help them or not. So they know they are going to get that bill. So most patients are reception to have that conversation," Feldman said.

 Insurers will offer different levels of coverage....called bronze, silver, gold and platinum...the higher level plans will cost more monthly but have lower out of pocket requirements.

 Feldman says Mississippians new to private insurance have a lot to learn in order to pick the right plan.

 "It is just not a matter of this is a population that is not insured and is not away of the lingo. Insurance itself can be a difficult conversation," Feldman said.

 Assistance from the federal government will bring down the cost of the monthly premium for most Mississippians regardless of the plan they pick.

 While enrollment begins at the start of October, the plans won't kick in until the start of the new year.





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