The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has been a hot topic for some time, and in recent weeks the state of Mississippi has come under fire for its treatment of children.
A report from the nonprofit Center for Children and Families found that more than a third of Mississippi’s children live in poverty, compared with 17% in Alabama, 25% in Louisiana and 27% in Kentucky.
The Center for Education and Families, which works with students in Mississippi’s schools and in the state’s public schools, released a report Friday that looked at the cost of health insurance for children under age 18 in the four states that participated in the study.
Its analysis found that the average cost of a private health insurance plan for a child age 6-18 in Mississippi is $2,800, compared to $2.00 in Alabama and $1,700 in Louisiana.
A second report from CEDF, which is affiliated with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, found that children in Mississippi live in a state where parents pay $1.40 per hour, which would be about $40 per month, compared in the United States to the $1 per hour average in the Midwest and the $0.50 average in New England.
The report also found that one in four Mississippi children has health insurance, which the Center for Health Equity and Economic Development, a non-profit advocacy group, said would likely be higher in the Mississippi state than in other states.
“It’s certainly a very different environment for children than it is in the rest of the country,” said Rachel Crouch, director of communications for CEDf.
In Alabama, the state that adopted the Affordable Care Bill, more than half of the children in poverty live in counties where the average household income is less than $45,000, according to the report.
Mississippi has the lowest poverty rate in the U-S-Southeast at 5.3%.
The study found that Mississippi had the lowest number of uninsured children, at 17.4% of children, compared at 28.5% in the nation’s second most populous state.
According to the CEDFs report, Mississippi has had three different health insurance plans for children: a single payer plan, a mix of private and public health plans, and a Medicaid-like program.
Alabama had a single-payer plan.
Mississippi had a mix.
Louisiana had a Medicaid plan.
The states did not have an exchange or enrollment system for the Medicaid program.
CED F found that while some states have seen more people sign up for health insurance through their states exchanges, Mississippi had no enrollment.
While Mississippi’s public health insurance system is one of the best in the country, the Ced F report said that there were serious problems with the system, including “a failure to provide reliable data on the number of adults who have signed up for the state exchange.”
In Mississippi, the federal government has yet to establish a single payment system for children, a key goal of the ACA.
CODF found that most Mississippi residents did not know the price of their child’s private health plan or the cost associated with the Medicaid-type plan.
The federal government also has not set up an exchange for adults, which will help inform parents and other family members about the costs of their children’s health insurance.