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Healthcare Marketplace to look much the same in 2015

healthcare reform_rgbHumana and Magnolia Health will stay the course in their Mississippi health insurance marketplace exchanges in the coming year.

The only change is Magnolia’s request to add a pair of counties to its coverage area.

Humana has applied to continue coverage in 40 of the state’s 82 counties, including the urban counties of Hinds, Rankin, Madison and DeSoto. Humana initially proposed coverage of the four urban counties but added 36 more after no other carriers showed interest in covering them.

Magnolia Health, which administers a 77,000-member Medicaid network around the state, serves the remaining counties. CEO Jason Dees said last week Magnolia has applied to add two more counties under the federally operated Affordable Care Act marketplace. He declined to identify them, however.

Dees and a spokesman for Humana emphasized their companies went into the exchange business fully aware they would be offering insurance products to people who until the signups had been uninsured or underserved by the health insurance sector.

“I would say we are pleased to be where we are at this point,” Dees said in an interview last week. “Our experience has been in line with where we thought we would be,” he added, and noted its exchange customers have many similarities to the MississippiCAN Medicaid clients it serves.

Humana spokesman Mitch Lubitz said many of the 40,000 Mississippians it signed up for coverage had no health insurance before the ACA. Connecting with uninsured Mississippians who lacked familiarity with the workings of health insurance posed the biggest challenge, Lubitz said.

“That’s why Humana launched its Covering Mississippi mobile outreach campaign in the first year of the Marketplace,” he said.

The insurer dispatched a pair of trucks that towed long trailers with clear windows. The trailers served as mobile sign-up offices across Humana’s Mississippi coverage area, Lubitz said.

The trucks, staffed with sales representatives, visited 185 locations, he said, and added sales reps talked with 3,000 Mississippians at churches, shopping malls and retail centers, medical clinics and hospitals. The trucks also took Humana representatives to ACA forums and community gatherings.  to travel its Mississippi territories.

Lubitz said Humana will do the same outreach this year, though it will dispatch one truck. It will launch the campaign on Oct. 4 at the Jackson Medical Mall

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