OUR OPINION: Insurance sign-up dates bear notice

Insurance Commission Mike Chaney, more than most other state officials, has sought to prepare Mississippi consumers for implementation of the Affordable Care Act, better known, with disdain, as Obamacare, the nationwide health insurance program in which enrollment begins Oct. 1.

Chaney, like many other Republican officeholders, does not like ACA as a plan for coverage, but he recognizes that it is the law of the land and must be dealt with to ever consumer’s advantage, if possible.

Enrollment in federal health insurance exchanges for individuals, families and small businesses begins Oct. 1, and coverage begins Jan. 1, 2014. People who have health insurance coverage through their businesses or in private, individual plans don’t have to change, but some may want to consider it if the federal exchange, which operates in every state, offers better deals.

Consumers should check facts rather than merely listen to propaganda.

Chaney was among experts who made presentations Tuesday at the annual HealthLink Managed Care Conference in Tupelo. HealthLink is the coverage apparatus for North Mississippi Health Services, which owns North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo, several other hospitals, and many clinics in the region.

Chaney, a native of Tupelo who was a state senator representing Vicksburg and Warren County before his election to the commissioner’s office, has taken a pragmatic position about the ACA since its implementation became foregone.

Some other Republican officeholders have continued vocal opposition and tried to act as spoilers, but barring something unforeseen Obamacare will be the nation’s health care plan, and it has an individual mandate.

All Mississippians will have an option for health insurance on the federal exchange, when it goes live later this fall, and the state insurance department wants to make sure small businesses have a state marketplace, too, Chaney said at the Tupelo conference.

Chaney correctly said on Tuesday that having good access to health care and health insurance is an economic development issue.

“My job is to make sure everyone in the state has access to reasonably priced insurance of all types,” Chaney said. “We can have it in place by January 2014, if we get approval by mid-September,” Chaney said.

Protests can continue but failure to enroll or have coverage will have adverse consequences.

  • TWBDB

    Take a look at the DJ poll. The overwhelming majority hasn’t even considered their options under this new plan. Then how do they know what to expect?

  • Guest

    The most important line in the article:
    “Consumers should check their facts rather than merely listen to propaganda”