/State’s uninsured rate drops for second year in a row

State’s uninsured rate drops for second year in a row

The rate of uninsured fell from 14.5 percent to 12.7 percent in 2014, to last year’s 12.7 percent. This is due to a decrease of 2.6 percent in uninsured rates between 2013 and 2014, which was the first year that the Affordable Care Act was enacted. Mississippi is still sixth in uninsured population, trailing only Texas, Alaska and Oklahoma. Mississippi, like these other states, declined Medicaid expansion. Advocates argue that Medicaid expansion would have expanded coverage to more than 300,000 of Mississippi’s poorest residents, or 10% of the state population. Opponents of the optional provision in the federal health law argue that long-term benefits outweigh the costs of covering such a large population. In a July conversation with Mississippi Today, Darren Webb, a state economist, stated that the Medicaid program doesn’t make it pay for itself because of the infusion of more people onto the Medicaid rolls. It pays for itself in the first few years, because the federal government will be paying the bill. But once the state starts putting in their share, it becomes more expensive.” The Affordable Care Act allows states to expand Medicaid to those earning up to 138 per cent of the federal poverty line, which is about $15,000 per year for one person. The Mississippi income threshold is now $5,500 per person. This is approximately one-third the federal poverty rate. As such, many adults are not eligible to receive Medicaid coverage, regardless of their income. According to the Census Bureau’s 2015 report, the uninsured rate for states that expanded Medicaid eligibility was lower that in those that did not. The uninsured rate in 2015 was 7.2% in states that expanded Medicaid eligibility, as compared to 12.3 percent for states that didn’t. The decline in Mississippi’s uninsured rate is part of a nationwide trend. The rate of Americans without insurance has dropped by more than a third since 2013, from 14.5 percent down to 9.4 percent. Mississippi’s uninsured rate has dropped 4.4 percent from the national average of 5.1%, but it has still fallen faster than 27 other states including 11 that expanded Medicaid. Nevertheless, the uninsured rate in all 11 states was below 10.7 percent in 2013. This is nearly four percentage points less than the national average.