I attended the Mississippi Department of Insurance, Town Meeting in Gulfport today. For those of you who were unable to attend they have a website Insurance Department Mississippi, and they are on Twitter .
The purpose of the meeting was to talk about establishing a Health Exchange for Mississippians by Mississippians. The Health Exchange would not be a government entitlement program, but would give the citizens of Mississippi more options. Federal Law Mandates a Health Exchange be in place by 2014.
18% of Mississippians are currently uninsured. Goals of the exchange would be to lower administrative cost and to increase participation so that more of our citizens are insured.
43% of those polled at today's meeting were in favor of the Affordable Care Act while 39% hate it. The Affordable Care Act is very polarizing so we were asked to look at the Health Exchange separate from the Affordable Care Act. 68% of those at the meeting would prefer that Mississippi run the Health Exchange not the Federal Government.
Roadblocks are the lack of Internet access by many of our citizens and the disparate education levels of our citizenry.
57% think that Health Insurance is important to economic growth and considering that Mississippi has the highest number of part time employes of any state the need for employers to offer health insurance to part time employees is great.
One option mentioned was a Defined Contribution Plan which would allow employers to decide how much money to put in the exchange for their employees.
Plan needs to be in place by Jan 1, 2014.