Miss. to set up business health insurance market

Miss. Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney plans to move ahead with a health insurance exchange for small businesses after federal officials approved regulations to allow the move.

The Department of Health and Human Services had proposed a rule that would have barred states that didn’t run an individual marketplace from setting up a separate exchange for businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

Last week, federal officials adopted a rule advocated by Chaney that allows Mississippi to set up what’s called a Small Business Health Options, or SHOP exchange. Chaney said he’s scheduled to meet Sept. 18 with federal officials and expects to get formal approval then, with plans to roll out the new marketplace in early 2014.

Utah already has approval to run only a SHOP exchange, and Chaney said he knew of no other state besides Mississippi expected to follow that route immediately.