Clearing confusion on the health insurance exchange - - The News for South Mississippi

Clearing confusion on the health insurance exchange

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

If you're shopping for health insurance, some new options are just days away. Enrollment opens TTuesday on the site and coverage will start in January.

Tuesday could mark a milestone for thousands of Mississippians.

"People are actually going to be able to purchase health insurance for the first time. You're going to get private health insurance and you're going to get tax credits to help you pay for that insurance," said Jarvis Dortch with the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program.

Here's the rundown, premiums will be some of the highest in the country with the exchange. That's because there's not much competition with only two providers. Dortch says those numbers are deceiving.

"That cost that you're hearing from all over the place is not what you're going to be paying out of pocket. What you're going to be paying out of pocket is going to depend on what your income is and your family size," he explained.

230,000 Mississippians will qualify for tax credits to help pay for coverage. That will slash the total costs per month.

"Making $25,000, 27 years old, that statewide average was $75," Dortch said.

The Mississippi Health Advocacy Program recently asked how much people knew about it. Just more than half of those surveyed knew the exchange was on its way. Only 24 percent knew when enrollment started.

"I think that just shows, people are busy, and they are waiting to find out how this is going to benefit their family before they start to get involved," Dortch said.

Several non-profits are working to educate the public about enrollment. The initiative is called Cover Mississippi.

"Mississippi has always been last in so many health indicators so this is an opportunity for us to start building ourselves up," said Dortch.

The Department of Health and Human Services says there will be an average of 22 health plan choices with the exchange in Mississippi.

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