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Miss. to set up business health insurance market

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney says he’s going ahead with plans for a small businesshealth insurance exchange.

The move comes after federal officials issued a rule last week allowing states like Mississippi that didn’t get a plan approved earlier to offer individual insurance to offer policies to businesses.

Chaney’s effort to run an individual marketplace was blocked by Gov. Phil Bryant, a fellow Republican. Bryant opposes participation in the federal health overhaul known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. As a result, the federal government will run Mississippi’s individual market.

But the law also provides for unsubsidized online marketplaces for businesses with fewer than 50 employees. Chaney says he has the power to run such an exchange without Bryant’s approval.

Chaney says the market will be ready by early 2014.

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