Mississippi's Insurance Commissioner isn't holding out hope the state will have another insurer for the federal exchange. As MPB's Desare Frazier reports the deadline is next week.
Mississippi's Department of Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney says despite some help from the government, the responsibility of recruiting another insurer to replace United Healthcare falls to his office. He's not optimistic Mississippi will have a third insurer by the deadline.
"Well we've got one other carrier we're looking at but I do not think it will be approved. The deadline for approval is next Tuesday and the reason for that is you must have actuarial opinions. You must have rates in place and you must have networks established," said Chaney.
Chaney says the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services must approve an insurer's request. Also the medical community must have confidence in the company's ability to pay. Earlier this year, United Healthcare decided to pull out of nine southern states including Mississippi by the end of the year.
"United Healthcare was making money in the state of Mississippi. The reason they pulled out is they did not want to have a huge staff left just to support one state," said Chaney.
Insurance companies Humana and Magnolia will continue to provide coverage through the federal exchange, so there will be at least one carrier in every county. Roy Mitchell is with the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program. He says having another third insurer is better for Mississippians.
"The more carriers the higher the degree of competition,certainly it helps. More carriers mean more networks and hopefully lower premiums," said Mitchell.
Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney says Mississippians who have coverage with United Healthcare through programs other than the federal exchange will not be impacted.