Issue brief stresses importance of consumer protections in ACA

June 25, 2012

Media Advisory

Contact: Sharon G. Morris
Office: 601-352-2269
sgarrison@mscenterforjustice.org

Issue brief stresses importance of consumer protections in ACA
Federal health reform offers improved access to care for Mississippi
children and families

(Jackson, Miss.) – Federal health reform offers Mississippi important opportunities to improve insurance coverage and access to healthcare for the state’s children and families. While the state has already taken advantage of millions of federal dollars to begin developing a healthcare exchange, Mississippi Center for Justice today issued a brief outlining common sense steps to ensure reform is implemented fairly and successfully for Mississippi families.

“Federal health reform provides an opportunity to put basic healthcare in reach of the nearly 500,000 Mississippians who currently do not have insurance,” said Linda Rigsby, Mississippi Center for Justice health law director. “Mississippi is well positioned to remove current barriers to coverage and offer more equitable access to our families, with little impact on costs to the state.”

Recommendations from the brief, called “Affordable Care Act: Providing Opportunities for Mississippi’s Children and Families” include:

  • Design a simple and consumer-friendly path to health care coverage including options to enroll online, in person, by telephone and by mail.
  • Develop a robust outreach and education arm that actively targets low-income and minority communities to assist individuals looking for coverage.
  • Create incentives for health plans to participate in Medicaid and in the Exchange so that benefits are aligned and continuity of coverage is protected for consumers.
  • Eliminate the unfair, difficult face-to-face interview currently required for individuals to sign up for Medicaid.
  • Actively monitor private insurance to ensure they eliminate discriminatory practices, such as refusing to insure those with pre-existing conditions.
  • Ensure a transparent process by incorporating consumer feedback through a robust stakeholder process.

“We hope Mississippi’s decision makers will use these recommendations to help make the promise of health reform and access to care a reality for Mississippi’s families and children,” Rigsby added.

The report was written by Manatt Health Solutions, a division of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, in consultation with Mississippi Center for Justice.