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Open enrollment for ACA begins with increase in premiums

JACKSON, MISS– The open enrollment period for insurance through the Affordable Care Act began November 1, with corresponding increases in premiums across the nation. 

Mississippi premiums are not excluded from the hikes. According to healthinsurance.org, Humana consumers could see pre-subsidy hikes of up to 43 percent, and up to seven percent for Magnolia.

Despite the hikes, the Magnolia state still holds some of the lowest premiums in the nation, said state Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney.

“We have a fairly good system of healthcare in the state,” said Chaney. “the cost of medicine is cheaper to deliver than in other states.”

Commissioner Chaney has been working with the federal government to get transitional plans extended further than the upcoming December 31, 2017 cut-off.

“Transitional plans, as we call them, are group plans sold throughout the state,” said Chaney. “We have about 200,000 people on these plans.”

The plans are not fully ACA compliant. They are group plans with employers with lower deductibles.

“The federal government doesn’t like it,” said Chaney. “They want everyone to be the same. ”

Bob Williams works with the state Department of Insurance, and is an expert with transitional policies, and said the extension past the December 2017 cut-off is vital.

“What the Commissioner knows is that large increases are coming,” said Williams. “and with these increases, small group employers may decide not to offer coverage anymore, some people may not can afford their coverage, so this is very important.”

Chaney made a prediction about how insurance coverage will be in the future if there is no solution to the premium hikes.

“People will start to go without insurance, we call that ‘going naked,'” said Chaney. “And that will be catastrophic to the country if that happens.”

If something were not fixed with the ACA, Chaney said a single-payer system could be implemented.

“A single-payer system is similar to what we have with Medicaid,” said Chaney. “But that’s a different ballgame, and it works for retirees and elderly. But if it were to become the way, we could see a limit with healthcare that would impact those over 65.”

Williams added that while ACA may not have been the most favorable law, it is the law of the land.

“Because it is law,” said Williams. “We have to make it work.”

To enroll for insurance coverage, visit Healthcare.gov.

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