Mississippi Health Advocacy Program continues to support the expansion of Medicaid in the state. With over 200,000 working Mississippians that stand to gain access to affordable health care, MHAP works to make this a reality for the state. Through providing relevant policy papers, economic studies, polling and story banking we strive to make Mississippi Medicaid expansion an issue central to the success of Mississippians and our state economy
MHAP is recognized nationwide as the Mississippi catalyst and convener for bringing people and groups together to serve health consumers efficiently and effectively. MHAP does this by engaging and working with local community based organizations to provide them with timely, useful resources on enrollment and post-enrollment issues. MHAP hosts annual Affordable Care Act (ACA) pre and post open enrollment meetings involving enrollment navigators, assisters, community health centers, insurers, the US Department of Health and Human Services and national health consumer groups such as Enroll America. These meetings serve to set strategic goals for open enrollment and to also identify what challenges exist and explore best practices to overcome them. While MHAP is most widely recognized for its public health policy work, we have responded to the needs of Mississippians by providing consumer health insurance assistance. Our Health Help Mississippi program provides direct enrollment assistance to consumers that are experiencing issues with both private and public insurance. Visit http://www.healthhelpms.org for more information on Health Help's services.
Balance Billing (Surprise Medical Bills)
MHAP worked for years to ensure the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. Now our work has transitioned to ensuring consumers are informed about and exercise their new rights under the law. MHAP, through our consumer assistance program Health Help Mississippi, provides assistance with consumer grievances and appeals when necessary. MHAP also works with national partners to shape our state’s policy to provide more consumer protections as they navigate through this new health care landscape.
Implications of an ACA repeal
Republican policymakers plan to move quickly in January to repeal much of the health reform law without enacting a replacement. According to a new Urban Institute report, 229,000 fewer people in Mississippi would have health insurance in 2019 if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed. This would cause families in Mississippi to go without needed health care and expose them to financial risk.
MHAP worked for years to ensure the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. Now our work has transitioned to ensuring consumers are informed about and exercise their new rights under the law. MHAP, through our consumer assistance program Health Help Mississippi, provides assistance with consumer grievances and appeals when necessary. MHAP also works with national partners to shape our state’s policy to provide more consumer protections as they navigate through this new healthcare landscape.
MHAP supports the ACA and its many benefits for Mississippians. Repeal of this important law will cause fiscal and health distress for the families of Mississippi.
MISSISSIPPI INSURANCE COMMISSIONER MIKE CHANEY'S RESPONSE TO U.S. HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER KEVIN MCCARTHY'S INVITATION TO PROVIDE SUGGESTIONS ON HOW AMERICA'S HEALTH INSURANCE SYSTEM CAN BE IMPROVED IN MISSISSIPPI
MISSISSIPPI INSURANCE COMMISSIONER MIKE CHANEY'S RESPONSE TO SENATE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN LAMAR ALEXANDER'S INVITATION TO PROVIDE SUGGESTIONS ON HOW AMERICA'S HEALTH INSURANCE SYSTEM CAN BE IMPROVED IN MISSISSIPPI
One of the major goals of the Affordable Care Act was to make health care affordable, while providing a base level coverage. One of the ways this was done, was for insurers to create provider networks that were not as large as they usually are. Because of this, consumers are not always able to have their medical needs met, leading to higher costs for consumers and decreased access to care. Another concern with insurers is the quality of the information they provide about their provider networks. Many provider directories are updated annually, when provider information changes much more routinely than that. This causes problems, when consumers are trying to be compliant and see providers that are in their networks. Consumers can get charged out of network prices because of incorrect information.
Medicaid Block Grants
What is a block grant?
The recent presidential election will no doubt bring some structural and detrimental changes to health care. The talk about “repeal and replace” of the Affordable Care Act has been ongoing since its passage in 2010. However, what is not as widely reported are the changes proposed for Medicaid.
Since the mid-90s, the idea of block granting the Medicaid program has been floated as an idea to curb costs of Medicaid. Medicaid block grants change the program from an entitlement program to a fixed amount of money given to states to fund their programs. This fixed amount of money allows states the flexibility to design the program the way they see fit with minimal Federal oversight. This means that states will be responsible for ensuring this money lasts throughout the year, even in the event of a natural disaster, state or national recession or increase in medical costs. If the federal money was exhausted before the end of the fiscal year, the state would have to pay 100 percent of additional costs – or terminate health care coverage for vulnerable seniors, children, or people with disabilities. A block grant would be based on today’s expenditures, at a time when Mississippi has made budget cuts to the Medicaid program.
What will this change mean for Mississippians?
Currently, Medicaid is an entitlement program that allows everyone who is eligible for the program apply for and receive benefits. Under a block grant, state legislators, would have the ability to cap enrollment, eliminate services, impose premium payments, reduce provider payments and also eliminate who is considered eligible for the program in order to stay within their allotted budget . Mississippi’s Medicaid program is already one of the most restrictive programs in the country. Medicaid in Mississippi covers only the elderly, children, disabled and pregnant women, our most vulnerable populations. Under a block grant the enrollment under any of these categories could be capped or categories of eligibility could be eliminated all together.
Block grants also do not increase to accommodate unforeseen events. For example, when Hurricane Katrina devastated the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 2005, the Federal government allowed Medicaid waivers to temporarily cover low income survivors of the hurricane. Also, in 2008 during the nation’s most severe recession since the 1930s, Congress passed a stimulus package that included increased funds for states’ Medicaid programs. During the period of October 1, 2008 through December 31, 2010, Mississippi received an additional $790 million dollars to cover Mississippians whose jobs and incomes had been destroyed by the recession. Both of these scenarios would not be covered under a block grant.
Finally, Medicaid is a literal budgetary lifeline for the state and local communities of Mississippi. Mississippi has the highest Federal match of any Medicaid program in the country due to our extremely high levels of poverty. For every $1 we send to the Federal government, we receive $3 back. This fiscal year, Mississippi received $4.1 billion dollars from the Federal government for care of its citizens. This money not provides insurance for the most vulnerable of our state, it also funds hospitals and pays providers. Without it, many hospitals, especially rural ones are at high risk of closure. In rural communities, these hospitals are not only many times the sole source for care, but they also provide a significant share of the jobs. Again, by moving to a block grant model, Mississippi can expect to get significantly less than this, which will be devastating to care for local communities.