Health exchange elicits mixed reactions

Crystal Barnes had already planned to investigate her options on Mississippi’s online health insurance exchange.

That investigation acquired a new urgency Tuesday, when Barnes learned her family’s monthly premiums will double next year.

Barnes, 33, her husband and their two children receive coverage through Madison’s Walmart Supercenter, her husband’s employer. Right now they pay $106 every two weeks for medical and prescription drug coverage. Starting next year, the biweekly cost will jump to $214 for medical coverage only.

Going without prescription coverage would be foolish, Barnes said, because one of her children has attention deficit disorder and requires a medication that costs $50 per month with coverage if it’s filled at a Walmart pharmacy, $60 if it’s not. The drugs under Walmart’s new rates would cost $60 if they’re filled at a company pharmacy, $75 if not. “And for a one-income family, that difference can be enormous,” said Barnes, who’s unemployed.

Clay Chandler
Clarion Ledger