Chaney wasted no time putting state out front

November 20, 2012

HEALTH CARE - Market Sector

Nancy Anderson, MBJ contributing columnist

While other state insurance commissioners sat around twiddling their thumbs, Mike Chaney moved forward with developing a framework for the private insurance exchanges for health insurance. Based on the headlines, I had assumed such work had ground to a halt, but I ran into someone intimately involved with the work who told me different.

As soon as the dust cleared on Election Day, Chaney’s phone began ringing. Other states who usually look down on poor, little Mississippi were begging for our expertise. What were we doing? How did we do it? Could we pass on what we learned?

There is a website for the exchange. It’s www.onemississippi.com. I don’t know if it’s fully functional yet, but it’s out there. This will be the portal for Mississippians to shop for competitive coverage. The committee in charge set the parameters for coverage. Any company wanting to be listed has to agree to these guidelines. Standard coverage will go beyond major hospitalization.

For Mississippians, the chance to shop for coverage on one site is invaluable. Pushing companies to offer similar coverage will allow us to compare through price and service. Hopefully, the end result will be more competitive pricing and more informed citizens. It will be up to the Insurance Department to school us on the program and get everyone signed up — no small feat.

Meanwhile, we await Gov. Bryant’s decision on the expansion of Medicaid rolls. That will determine how all this works. My source is convinced such an expansion will happen. Regardless, Chaney’s office has put us a step ahead of everyone else.

It sure feels good to be No. 1 — Mississippi!

>> Nancy Lottridge Anderson, Ph.D., CFA, is president of New Perspectives Inc. in Ridgeland — (601) 991-3158. She is also an assistant professor of finance at Mississippi College. Her e-mail address is nanderson@newper.com, and her website is www.newper.com.

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