Free Clinics Try To Fill Gaps As COVID Sweeps Away Job-Based Insurance

April 30, 2020, Kaiser Health News, Michaela Gibson Morris - Before COVID-19, Mississippi had a high rate of uninsured: 18% for adults ages 19-64 compared with 12% nationally, according to the Center for Mississippi Health Policy. The state did not expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act and very few able-bodied adults can qualify under the state’s requirements. “We anticipate we will see a lot more people falling into the coverage gap,” said Roy Mitchell, executive director of the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program, a nonprofit that operates a help line for consumers with Medicaid, ACA and private health insurance issues. “It will only get worse.” He does not see how the state can continue to avoid expanding Medicaid eligibility on ideological grounds as the long-term effects of the pandemic and economic disruption hit Mississippi families and rural hospitals. “Right now, the state needs every tool to fight coronavirus and stay safe,” Mitchell said.

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