Today marks the first day that Mississippians can enroll for insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Approximately sixty thousand currently uninsured Mississippians will be eligible for health insurance coverage under the program. This coverage will come at a reduced cost to insureds thanks in large part to credits made available to employers and insurance companies under the program.

Even with these new savings, Mississippians will face the third highest new insurance rates in the nation as the new program comes on line.

House Democratic Caucus Leader Bobby Moak (D-Bogue Chitto) said, “The reason Mississippians looking to access Mississippi’s new healthcare exchange will be experiencing sticker shock is because we failed to pass a plan that would have given Mississippi its own state-run exchange. As we said throughout this past legislative session, a federal-run exchange is more expensive for Mississippians.”

Moak added, “There were at least two opportunities to allow our own Insurance Department to run an exchange program and both of those failed. The first when Governor Phil Bryant agreed to a federal exchange and the other a straight party line vote during the special legislative session where Democrats supported a Mississippi based exchange and Republicans abdicated control to the federal government.”

Rep. Robert Johnson (D-Natchez) said, “The Federal exchange has only attracted two insurance companies to write policies. Under a state-based exchange, we would have had approximately six companies competing for business. This kind of competition would have brought Mississippi prices more in line with the lower rates being offered throughout the nation.”

Moak said, “House Democrats have been working with healthcare providers to lower costs for Mississippi families. Unlike our counterparts, we believe government does have a role to play in protecting our citizens, whether in the area of law enforcement or healthcare. We understand there are times citizens need basic support from services like unemployment, Medicare, state veterans benefits, and lower healthcare and insurance premium costs.”

House Democrat Press Release