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Humana steps up to fill Mississippi exchange gaps

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Humana Inc. (NYSE:HUM) says it will cover the 36 Mississippi counties that were on track to be left out of the new federal health insurance exchange system.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is planning to open a “federally facilitated exchange,” or Web-based health insurance supermarket, in the state Oct. 1.

Humana’s move means consumers in all counties will be able to buy health insurance through the online exchange. Coverage under those policies is supposed to begin Jan. 1, 2014.

Until Friday, insurers had announced plans to only cover 46 of the state’s 82 counties. Of states where insurers had been announced for exchanges, Mississippi had been the only one with areas that no insurer had filed to serve.