Are you struggling to find affordable health insurance coverage for yourself and your family in Mississippi? You’re not alone. And if you feel like you need help, you’re not alone in that, either. That’s why websites like this one exist. We have the collective knowledge of dozens of health insurance experts, and we’ll use it to help you find the best option for you and your loved ones at an affordable rate. Just keep reading, and we’ll help you learn more info about what options are available in your area for the best deal.
Major Medical Insurance in Mississippi
Did you know that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is about to celebrate its tenth anniversary? It was originally passed into law back in March of 2010 under then-President Barack Obama. That’s the reason it is sometimes referred to as “Obamacare”, even though that is not the official name. But the truth is that this law has changed several times over the few short years it has been active, not the least of which is the elimination of the individual mandate at the beginning of 2019. This seemingly minor change in the law can make a huge difference in how easy it is for you and your family to get affordable, qualifying coverage.
The lack of an individual mandate on the federal level – and the lack of an individual mandate on the state level in Mississippi – means that, technically, you aren’t required to purchase health insurance. But it’s still a good idea. And there are many easy ways for you to apply for coverage quickly and easily online. Just start by going to HealthCare.gov and answering a few simple questions about your income, your household size, and your current health status. From there, you can start shopping for plans and you can check and see whether or not you qualify for financial help.
Major medical coverage is the insurance most people spring for over any other option today. There are several reasons for this. Number one, these policies are what’s known as guaranteed issue. When you apply for guaranteed issue health insurance coverage, the insurance company you’re applying with cannot reject you – even if you have pre-existing conditions that are unappealing to them. Guaranteed issue policies also cannot charge you higher monthly premiums compared to a person without pre-existing conditions unless one of these following four factors makes you a riskier investment:
- Your age
- Your location
- Your use of tobacco products
- Whether you are applying for an individual policy or a family policy
The second big reason major medical plans available on the ACA Exchange are so popular is due to the guaranteed Health and Wellness Benefits offered. These benefits help make sure you receive a comprehensive health policy that offers you head-to-toe medical care at an affordable cost so you can live the healthiest and most fulfilling life possible. Just take a look at the mandatory benefits on the list below:
- Ambulatory/outpatient services
- Emergency services
- maternity/newborn care
- Mental health and substance abuse
- Prescription drugs
- hab/rehab services and devices
- Lab tests
- Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
- Pediatrics (including oral and vision)
You might think that all of these benefits don’t come cheap. You’re right – they don’t. But they can become remarkably more affordable if you qualify for a tax subsidy. The government has set aside tax revenue for working families and individuals who make at least 138% of the federal poverty limit in Mississippi. The maximum amount you can make in order to still qualify for a tax subsidy is 400% of the federal poverty limit. As long as you fall within that window, you could save hundreds on your monthly insurance premiums with one of these tax subsidies. Just take a look at the chart below to get an idea whether or not you and your household may qualify.
|Household Size||Annual Income (138% of FPL)||Annual Income (100% of FPL)|
We’ve included a third column in this chart – the column that shows the qualifying amount of income for 100% of the federal poverty limit based on household size – for a very important reason: Mississippi falls into the Medicaid Expansion Gap. This means that individuals and families whose household makes somewhere between 100% And 138% of the federal poverty limit will neither be eligible for Medicaid nor will they be eligible for a federal tax subsidy. If you fall into this unfortunate gap, then you will need to pay close attention to the following ACA major medical insurance alternatives in order to get affordably covered. Otherwise, you may not be able to purchase affordable insurance.
If you fall into a low income or very low-income bracket which is 100% of the federal poverty limit or below, you may be eligible for Medicaid in Mississippi. But it’s not based on income alone. You have to be at a qualifying income level, and you also have to be the parent or caretaker of a dependent, disabled, or be over the age of 65. If you don’t meet all of these requirements, you may not be eligible for Medicaid despite your obvious financial need. For more information, you can visit the Mississippi division of Medicaid website.
Short Term Health Insurance in Mississippi
If you fall into the Medicaid expansion income gap we just mentioned, if you can’t afford an ACA health insurance policy for another reason, or if you simply don’t want to purchase qualifying major medical coverage, you can look at a short-term health insurance policy. The good news is that these policies can cost as much as 1/3 less than an unsubsidized ACA plan. The state of Mississippi has some of the most relaxed laws when it comes to short-term health insurance, so you’ll be able to purchase a short-term health insurance plan for up to 364 days and receive the option to renew for an additional two years. On top of everything, short-term health insurance comes with some of the strongest consumer protection laws in the country. If you ever feel like your short-term health insurance company has stiffed you on your benefits, you can take them to court in order to get the money you are owed (provided you had the resources to do so).
But short-term health insurance isn’t a perfect plan. It can come with some fallbacks that can cost you a lot of money if you aren’t careful. For one, you should budget to pay for a greater percentage of your out-of-pocket medical costs with short-term health insurance, starting with a $5,000 deductible you will have to pay upfront before your benefits will kick in. You should also prepare for the fact that you won’t have all of the guaranteed Health and Wellness Benefits that you would get with an ACA policy, so certain forms of medical treatment – like mental health counseling, or preventative care, for example – will likely be paid for out-of-pocket because you won’t be able to purchase that kind of coverage. Most short-term health insurance companies simply won’t offer it. Starting with short-term health insurance and continuing through the rest of this list, none of the other options we will discuss below are guaranteed issue. This means that medical underwriting will be a requirement, and you may be rejected for coverage or charged exorbitantly higher monthly premiums if you have pre-existing conditions or unfavorable health circumstances.
All of that being said, if you are relatively healthy and don’t need much medical care in the first place, having short-term health insurance on hand can give you peace of mind and protect you from tens of thousands of dollars in medical debt if you suddenly come down with an unexpected illness.
Christian Health Plans/Health Share Plans in Mississippi
Now that the federal mandate is no longer a legal requirement, the biggest appeal for a Christian health plan is no longer in existence. Despite the fact that health share plans do not legally comply with ACA regulations and therefore aren’t actually qualifying medical coverage, the religious nature of these plans gives people who purchase them a religious exemption. This led to a lot of business among people who wanted an excuse to avoid the individual mandate without having to pay for qualifying coverage. But just because the main selling point for these plans is no longer around doesn’t mean they’re not worth consideration. It mostly depends on your personal circumstances, total affordability, and whether or not one of these plans can give you what you’re looking for in your health care coverage.
When you compare a health share plan to all of the other options available in Mississippi, they have the most in common with short-term health insurance. Just take a look at all of their similarities in the list below:
- No guaranteed issue status
- Unlimited out-of-pocket costs
- Lifetime and annual benefit caps
- No guaranteed Essential Health Benefits
- Plans require a less costly “monthly share amount” than an unsubsidized ACA monthly premium
- Not considered to be a “real” health insurance plan by major organizations and care providers
Similarities aside, these are obviously very different plans and you need to familiarize yourself with what those differences are in order to make the most well-informed decision. The first glaring difference is the fact that you won’t have any consumer protections like you would with short-term health insurance. So if your Christian health plan decides not to pay out on claims or doesn’t honor the benefits it said it would, you likely won’t be able to take them to court. Next are the participation guidelines you should be aware of. You will likely have to declare a specific faith, and that faith is usually a Christian one. You will likely also have to stop any tobacco use you may be currently engaging in, and make other biblically inspired lifestyle changes. You’ll also have to get used to using some different terminology. You won’t be paying a monthly premium; instead, you’ll be paying a “monthly share amount”. Likewise, you won’t be paying a deductible, a co-pay, or any type of coinsurance; instead, you will be paying an “unshared amount” or a “personal responsibility amount”. This nuanced difference in jargon between Christian health plans and short-term health insurance helps keep them legally distinct and protects these companies from legal action against dissatisfied members.
Fixed Indemnity Plans in Mississippi
Were you thinking about purchasing a fixed indemnity plan as an inexpensive alternative to major medical coverage in Mississippi? You might want to rethink that plan. Fixed indemnity plans were never meant to replace major medical coverage; at best, they were designed to supplement it and to lower your total out-of-pocket costs. These plans pay out a fixed amount of money, usually on a per day, per week, or per month basis. Otherwise, some indemnity plans payout on a per visit or per-event basis. Either way, the total amount of medical care you get and your total medical costs are independent of how much your indemnity provider will agree to pay. This means that indemnity plans will not pay out and agreed percentage of your total medical costs like an ACA major medical plan would. This is one of many reasons why fixed indemnity plans do not count as “real” health insurance.
There are actually many other reasons why a fixed indemnity plan is not an adequate substitute for major medical coverage. Indemnity plans do not fulfill the guaranteed Health and Wellness Benefits mandate, they come with predetermined annual and lifetime caps on the benefits you are allowed to receive, and they are also not guaranteed issue. So there is a good chance you could get rejected for coverage or charged substantially higher premiums with a fixed indemnity plan. All of that being said, it’s still better than going without any insurance coverage whatsoever. While these plans may not pay for 60% or more of your shared medical costs like an ACA plan would, they will at least provide some sort of financial buffer between you and the cost of care resulting from a catastrophic and unexpected medical issue.
Discount Cards in Mississippi
The biggest thing you have to worry about when it comes to medical discount cards in Mississippi is coming across unscrupulous providers who try to convince you that these cards are a form of major medical insurance. They are not. Here’s how they work: you agree to pay a company a monthly or annual fee in order to become a member of their discount card program. They send you a card in the mail, and a list of providers that you can visit when purchasing things like prescription drugs, medical services, and more. If you present your medical discount card when you purchase drugs and services at the listed providers, you should receive a discount right there at the register. You won’t have to file a single claim, and you won’t be sitting around waiting for reimbursements, either. But that’s all these cards do – they simply reduce your out-of-pocket medical costs by a small to moderate percentage. They do not work like anything close to a legitimate insurance plan.
If you’re thinking about purchasing a medical discount card, don’t make any hasty decisions. Sit down, do some math, and do a little digging into the discounts the company promises to offer and the providers they claim to work with. If everything checks out, and if it looks like the discounts you receive will be equal to or greater than your membership fees, then go for it! That’s the most beneficial scenario in which a medical discount card can help you manage your health care costs. But don’t fall for any scams or purchase one of these cards under the mistaken impression that they are a legitimate and equivalent replacement for major medical insurance – because they’re certainly far from it.