Open enrollment began on Tuesday and citizens were allowed the opportunity to go online and browse the U.S. Department of Health website, to shop for health insurance plans.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the act will aid 80 percent of Americans who have insurance, to have more choices and stronger coverage than ever before, and 20 percent of Mississippians who do not have insurance, or Mississippi families and small businesses who buy their coverage but are not happy with it.
The new online Health Insurance Marketplace will provide families and small businesses that currently do not have insurance, or are looking for a better deal, a new way to find health coverage that fits their needs and their budgets.
The Health Insurance Marketplace will make it easier for Mississippians to compare qualified health plans, get answers to questions, find out if they are eligible for lower costs for private insurance or health programs like Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance program, and enroll in coverage.
Mississippi has received $21,143,618 in grants for research, planning, information technology development, and implementation of its Health Insurance Marketplace.
Just as any other major decision or adjustment made by the government, there is an array of emotions around the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Taborian Urgent Care Center Contract Administrator, Margo Christian-Brooks strongly supports the Act, and believes that it is very important for it to be embraced by the state.
"Mississippi is ranked number 50 in the country for healthcare. In other words, we are the unhealthiest people in the country and we need access to affordable healthcare. I am so appalled at how asinine we have become in this division. Here we have government services stopped, and over 800,000 people off of work without pay, but congress is still getting paid, and the Affordable Care Act is in effect. Is that not asinine? That just really blows my mind. All we have to say is Obama Care and everybody is on board for a fight. In terms of the Taborian Urgent Care Center, we want people to have access. Congress has the best healthcare plan in the world, but they want to restrict what we can have? Congress should spend more money and time trying to inform us about how we can make the most of the Affordable Health Act and how we can access services, not fighting trying to keep us from getting what we deserve. "Even third world countries have universal health care and we are above that," said Brooks.
In every State and for the first time under Federal law, the Act is requiring insurance companies to publicly justify their actions if they want to raise rates by 10 percent or more.
Mississippi has received $4,783,208 under the new law to help fight unreasonable premium increases.
The health care law requires many insurance plans to provide coverage without cost sharing to enrollees for a variety of preventive health services, such as colonoscopy screening for colon cancer, Pap smears and mammograms for women, well-child visits, and flu shots for all children and adults.
"The Affordable Care Act has a lot of good points to it. We're excited about the Act because it offers healthcare to those who cannot get it right now and also because it focuses on preventive health. I think in months and years ahead, it will probably change the face of public health," Director of Communications for the Mississippi State Department of Health Liz Sharlot.
"I think that it is wonderful that we are finally coming to a point in this country that we realize that everyone is entitled to affordable heath care. It will provide revenue for more people to have healthcare coverage and hopefully people won't be so apprehensive about seeking service as preventive care as opposed to just intervention," she added.
Although the Affordable Care Act seems to be favored among many, some local citizens have opposing views about the benefits of the Act.
According to Cleveland resident Ann Williams, the government should focus more on producing employment opportunities.
"I think that it is hurting our country. No one ever went without seeing a doctor. "There was always the emergency room and always the clinics, but now they are wanting to make people pay and it's just not right. They said that we would get to keep our trust of our doctors or whatever we have, but now that is not happening because they are literally canceling out on people. I wish it had not have ever taken place," said Williams.
On the contrary, there are also some citizens that highly favor the Affordable Care Act, such as retired Entergy employee Climmie Murry Funchess.
"I think that it is a great thing. I love people and if people are in need of help, then give it to them. I think it’s a great thing that Obama is doing. He's just not doing it for a specific race of people, he is doing it for all people," added Funchess.
There is an array of emotions being exhausted about the Affordable Care Act, but the just as car insurance, it is a state and nationwide requirement.
For more information about the Affordable Care Act please visit www.healthcare.gov.