Issues: Balance BillingHealth Care ReformMedicaid/SCHIP
Balance billing, most commonly referred to as surprise medical bills, is the difference between what the provider charges and what the insurer will reimburse. The consumer is responsible for this amount, which can many times be in the thousands. Usually this occurs when a consumer inadvertently sees a provider out of their network in an emergency situation, which can include laboratory services or anesthesia services. In very rural areas, with limited provider networks, this issue is even more pronounced because consumers may have to go out of network to receive the services they need.
MHAP, through our consumer assistance program Health Help Mississippi, provides assistance with this, which includes appeals when necessary. MHAP also works with national partners to shape our state’s policy to provide more consumer protections.
For more information on balance billing see:
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Mississippi is a state that has had a long, sad history with health outcomes. The confluence of historical racial and economic baggage, indifferent and sometimes hostile leadership, and long-standing, suffocating poverty has created a seemingly untenable environment for change. At this writing, Mississippi has 17.9% of its citizens uninsured, 40% in poverty according to the federal poverty level guidelines, and 22.1% of its citizens on Medicaid. These are the results of years of neglect on the issue of health care coverage.
The Affordable Act
The landmark Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act (PPACA) that was signed into law in March 2010 presented a once in a decade opportunity for Mississippi to envision health care delivery in way that is tailored our specific needs. The bill is a comprehensive effort that strives to open up and protect current access to both public health care programs and the private insurance market. It aims to cover 32 million more Americans, while ensuring protections for the millions that are currently insured. As health care advocates, our goal is to work diligently to engage the public and policymakers in making sure that the vision and promise of health care reform for thousands of Mississippians is realized. It is our hope that our website dedicated to health care reform, msroadtoreform.org, will be a trusted source for providing accurate, timely, and easily understood information about what health care reform really means for you and your family.
Mississippi consumer health advocates, providers, and other stakeholders have recently recognized the immediate need to collaborate to educate and enroll Mississippians in the new health insurance Marketplace. Beginning Oct. 1, Mississippi has an historic opportunity to offer affordable health coverage to more than 275,000 Mississippians through the Mississippi Health Insurance Marketplace. Representatives of these organizations understand and agree on the need for a statewide campaign to educate Mississippians about their new health insurance options. As a result, this coalition will coordinate resources under the brand “Cover Mississippi” in an effort to reduce the number of uninsured in Mississippi.
Visit our website, coverms.org, to learn more about our work on health care reform.
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583,000 Mississippians are provided health insurance through the state’s Medicaid program. Medicaid is health insurance that helps many people who can’t afford medical care pay for some or all of their medical bills. 60% of the Medicaid population is children.
Medicaid is jointly funded by the federal government and the states. Each state administers its own program, and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) monitors the programs and sets quality, funding, and eligibility standards. Mississippi receives $3 from the federal government for each dollar it spends on the program. The program is not only vital to the wellbeing of Mississippians but it also acts as an economic engine, creating jobs throughout the state.
This section of our Web site provides resources on Medicaid laws and regulations and keeps you up-to-date on the battle to sustain and improve this important program.
If you or anyone you know needs assistance with Medicaid, CHIP or any private insurance plan, please Call Health Help Mississippi at 1-877-314-3843
UnitedHealthCare currently provides coverage to children enrolled in Mississippi’s Children Health Insurance Program. Mississippi Chip can provide children with coverage for:
• Preventative care
• Eye Care
• Prescription medications (drugs)
• Vaccinations (shots)
• Dental care
• Hospital visits
To learn if your child qualifies for Mississippi CHIP call Health Help Mississippi at 1-877-314-3843
Medicaid under Health Reform
In a tremendous victory for Mississippi families, on June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, the court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion created uncertainty about whether many working families in Mississippi would be able to gain access to health coverage as originally intended by the law.
Under the original guidelines of the Affordable Care Act, the federal government would have allowed every U.S. citizen and legal resident younger than 65 to qualify for Medicaid if they had an annual income up to 133% of the Federal Poverty Level (about $15,000 for an individual and $30,000 for a family of four). In Mississippi, this would give nearly 300,000 more Mississippians access to the health coverage they need. Instead, the Supreme Court ruled that states must be given the option of whether or not they would like to expand their Medicaid programs, essentially putting the health and well-being of Mississippi’s working families in the hands of state lawmakers. Unfortunately, many state lawmakers, including Governor Bryant, have already indicated that they will not be willing to expand Medicaid and help Mississippi’s working families.
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