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TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – Hundreds of people turn out for an annual conference looking at ways to keep insurance and medical costs affordable for employers and employees.

Human Resource personnel,  representatives from small and large businesses and healthcare workers were on hand for the 18th annual Health Link Managed Care Conference.

It was a chance to hear about the many changes everyone faces because of the Affordable Care Act. In particular,  the requirement that every state have a health insurance exchange, or a marketplace.

“There’s a lot of movement toward online exchanges,  whether it be a nationally based employer, or local employer or an individual,” said Wally Davis, vice president of North Mississippi Health Services.

Mississippi’s marketplace for small businesses to purchase health insurance is called “One Mississippi” and a representative from the state insurance department said interest in the online marketplace is growing.

“We’ve had about 282 employers that have already gone to the website and are looking,” said Bob Williams, with the state insurance department.

Whether they are private businesses or public institutions,  everyone is impacted by the Affordable Care Act and its new regulations.

Participants say this conference gives them a chance to share questions, concerns and success stories.

“With the Affordable Care Act, it’s become even more complex and folks like these need each other to learn from each other and understand what their strategies should be going forward,” said Barney Hebert, of Hattiesburg-based Horne CPA Group.

“We have a student insurance that’s part of our offering to students, international and domestic, that has had to meet the new standards of the Affordable Care Act.  The net result has been a , actually a more robust insurance package available to our students,” said Robert Cadenhead, director of MSU’s Student Health Center.

While healthcare is changing rapidly,   organizers hope conferences such as this one will help patients, providers and employers make informed decisions that provide quality care, at the best price possible.


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