Third Insurance Company Joining Exchange
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Mississippians will soon have a third option when they go to purchase health insurance on the state's insurance exchange. The new company will offer plans when the exchange re-opens this fall.

United Health Care has told the federal government, which operates the exchange, that they want to begin offering subsidized plans.

In a written statement, the company says that they quote- expect to have a competitive product available for Mississippi consumers.

Insurance commissioner Mike Chaney says the announcement means more options for Mississippians.

"Problems that we had with the federally facilitated exchange is that we only had two carriers in the state. All counties had at least one carrier and five counties had at least two. But this will give us at least two carriers in every county in the state," Chaney said.

The other two companies, Humana and Magnolia, have both announced plans to increase the number of counties where they offer plans.

In all, 14 counties are expected to have all three companies competing for new customers.

 

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Jason Dees, the CEO of Magnolia, says companies are becoming more comfortable with how the exchange will function in Mississippi.

"I think what you are seeing is that companies are learning more about the exchange. And some of the risk associated with the exchange. And are gaining some confidence about how it is going to behave in the future," Dees said.

The exchange was created as part of the federal health care reform law also known as Obamacare.

Theresa Hannah with the Center for Mississippi Health Policy says increasing coverage is good news for consumers.

"Competition is good. There are going to be more counties covered by existing insurance companies. So I am hoping that we are going to see more competition and better pricing," Hannah said.

There are roughly half-a-million uninsured Mississippians.

About 66-thousand Mississippians got insurance during the first sign up period last year.

Open enrollment in the insurance exchange begins in November.