Issues: 2015 Legislative AgendaHealth Care ReformMedicaid/SCHIPHealth Help Mississippi

SUPPORT EXPANSION OF MISSISSIPPI’S MEDICAID PROGRAM TO PROVIDE COVERAGE TO LOW-INCOME ADULTS.

The federal government is offering Mississippi billions in health care funding to provide health insurance to low-income adults and families that currently have no affordable coverage options. 

These federal dollars can be used to expand income eligibility of the state’s existing Medicaid program, in turn providing coverage to childless adults below 138% of federal poverty level. Childless adults over the age of 19 are currently ineligible for any benefits under Mississippi’s Medicaid program.  In addition, parents earning more than 22% of federal poverty level are ineligible for coverage. Expanding the traditional Medicaid eligibility would provide insurance for thousands of Mississippians, the majority of whom are working but not offered employer-based coverage.

However, the federal government has also provided several states with more flexibility on they extend coverage to their newly eligible population. Through the 1115 waiver process, several states, including our neighbors in Arkansas and Tennessee, have developed plans that utilize the available federal funding to pay premiums towards private insurance plans offered in their state’s health insurance marketplace.

The 1115 waiver process allows states to enter in demonstration projects intended to test innovations and alternatives to traditional Medicaid models.
Mississippi unique healthcare challenges and lawmakers should act on this opportunity to expand access to care while delivering on reforms that provide better outcomes for consumers and providers.
 
SUPPORT THE CREATION OF A TASKFORCE TO CONSIDER AND MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS TO IMPROVE ACCESS TO CARE IN MISSISSIPPI.

Mississippi has countless health care issues. Access to care is foremost on any list.  Last session, legislation was passed to create a committee….
Unfortunately, that bill died in conference after passing the House and the Senate. This session, lawmakers should finish the job and send similar legislation to the governor. Such a committee should make recommendations towards the future of healthcare in Mississippi with care consideration towards the following goals:
i. Options available to the state to provide affordable health insurance to all residents.
ii. Options available to the state sustain and support Mississippi health care providers with particular focus on rural hospitals and community health centers.
iii. Options available to the state to encourage health care delivery models that promote better healthcare outcomes
iv. Health outcomes
v. Options available to the state to provide adequate protections to healthcare consumers.

Click this link to stay up-to-date through out the session: http://p2a.co/zoGH2ZI

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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.

Cover MS

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.

Get Involved

Learn more and get involved in issues regarding health care reform by visiting our website, coverms.org and by signing up for our email list.

Resources

 

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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

Mississippi CHIP

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.

Resources

Click Here to read How Health Reform Helps Low-Income Children

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High quality and affordable health care is available to those eligible in Mississippi through the Medicaid program or Children via the CHIP program. Health Help can help connect you and your family with available health care options.

On March 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law which created greater access to health for all Mississippians. Health Help serves as a resource to help Mississippians navigate the new benefits under health care reform.

Our counselors are available Monday–Friday from 9am–5pm.

Health Help
800 N. President Street
Jackson, MS 39202
1-877-314-3843

http://www.healthhelpms.org/

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