Senate Bill 2857, sponsored by Sen. Chris McDaniel, ensures that paying cash for health care services won’t be regulated as an insurance product by the state Department of Insurance. In doing so, it makes sure red tape won’t hold back health care in Mississippi.

The bill expands our current direct primary care program to include other health care providers, like physical therapists.

Direct primary care enables doctors to bill patients directly for services. This bypasses traditional health plans, where a third party pays most of the cost while the insured pays a smaller amount.

The passage of the so-called Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, resulted in massive, annual premium increases for most health insurance customers and forced consumers to have health insurance or pay a tax. President Donald Trump signed legislation in 2017 that reduced the tax to nothing. 

People tired of paying excessive costs for insurance went back to the old way of funding primary care by paying the provider directly. In 2015, Mississippi became one of the first states to clarify that this payment arrangement could not be regulated as an insurance product. Senator McDaniel’s bill expands the current law to include other health care providers.

A direct primary care (DPC) practice offers members a set amount of on-demand visits for a flat, periodic fee and also has transparent pricing models for tests, labs and X-rays. With transparent pricing, competition can enter the healthcare field and provide better, less costly benefits for consumers.

It’s a model on the march, with 1,000 DPC practices in 48 states that serve 300,000 patients, according to the Direct Primary Care Coalition.

The Mississippi Department of Insurance does not currently regulate direct primary care providers, owing to legislation passed in 2015. This clarifies that other health care providers may operate under a similar arrangement. 

MCPP has reviewed this legislation and finds that it is aligned with our principles and therefore should be supported. 

Read SB 2857.

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