How Mississippi is killing off its health insurance industry
Mississippi’s health insurance market has fallen to its lowest level in a decade, killing off hundreds of thousands of jobs, leaving millions of people without coverage and putting the state in the midst of a deadly new wave of coronavirus, according to a new report.
The report released Tuesday by the Mississippi Department of Health and Hospitals found that the state’s insurance market, which includes large employers and government agencies, has been hit harder than the national average since the start of the pandemic.
The state’s total market share of the health insurance marketplace fell from 30.3 percent in fiscal year 2015 to 26.3 in fiscal 2016, the report said.
A full 40 percent of Mississippians lacked coverage in the second quarter of fiscal 2016 compared with 31.7 percent the first quarter, the department said.
The drop is attributed to insurers pulling out of the market, leaving only about 13.3 million people covered in the state.
In fiscal 2017, the state had more than 9 million uninsured, according the department.
As a result, the share of Mississippians without health insurance rose from 29.9 percent in the first fiscal year to 36.4 percent in FY 2019.
That’s nearly twice the national level of 15.8 percent, the Department of Commerce and Industry found.
In addition, the number of uninsured people in Mississippi declined to 9.3% in FY 2018 from 10.3%, according to the report.
Mississippi’s uninsured rate is nearly the national rate of 6.9%, which is a level the department has not seen since the late 1990s, according it.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Mississippi has a population of 8.4 million.
Mississippi has the nation’s lowest rate of people living below the poverty line, according data compiled by the Department, with nearly 3.6 million people in poverty, or about 12.4% of the state population.
More than 80% of Mississippi’s residents live in poverty.
Some of the biggest job losses have occurred in the health care industry.
The state has lost more than 900,000 people as a result of the collapse in insurance market participation, which was largely due to the health insurers’ decision to pull out of Mississippi, the agency said.
The department said the economic impact on the state has been particularly pronounced for those with pre-existing conditions, which include high blood pressure and diabetes.
That has led to an exodus of doctors and hospitals, according, according.
That exodus has created a major backlog in the system.
Nearly half of Mississippi health insurance enrollees are older than 65, and they have a higher risk of death and serious illnesses, the data found.
The health insurance enrollment gap has pushed up the uninsured rate to 23.7%, the department found.
And while the state is seeing the largest declines in the number and percentage of uninsured, the overall percentage of Mississippi residents who have health insurance has declined as well, the findings said.
Mississippi lost almost 1 million insured people between the start and end of fiscal 2017.
The loss of 1.1 million enrollees is roughly half of the losses in the overall state population, the survey found.
The state is the nation and the third-most populous in the nation to have no insurance market in fiscal 2019.
The rest of the states have an average of 9.1 people insured in the private market, the CDC said.