A Profile of Mississippi’s Low-Wage Uninsured Workers

The recently enacted American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) includes new financial incentives for states to extend health insurance coverage to low-wage workers and other adults earning less than $17,775 a year through Medicaid.¹ These incentives apply to regular spending in a state’s Medicaid program and offer a five percent across-the-board increase in the federal share for a 24 month period after the state extends coverage. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that Mississippi’s budget would see a net gain of $400 million over a two year period if the state expanded Medicaid to take advantage of the new incentives.² Approximately 166,600 uninsured adults would gain health insurance, comprising just over half of the state’s uninsured population.³

This factsheet examines which workers and industries would benefit from expansion of Medicaid coverage.4 The restaurant, food service, and construction industries employ the most uninsured low-wage workers, collectively accounting for more than a quarter of such workers (see Table 1). Cashiers, cooks, maids and housekeeping staff, waiters/waitresses, and retail workers are most likely to be uninsured (see Table 2).


¹For more information on the provisions of the law, see E. Park and S. Corlette, “American Rescue Plan Act: Health Coverage Provisions Explained” (Washington DC: Georgetown University Center for Children and Families and Center on Health Insurance Reform, March 2021), available at https://ccf.georgetown.edu/2021/03/11/american-rescue-plan-act-health-coverage-provisions-explained/.
² R. Rudowitz, B. Corallo, and R. Garfield, “New Incentive for States to Adopt the ACA Medicaid Expansion: Implications for State Spending” (Washington DC: Kaiser Family Foundation, March 2021), available at https://www.kff.org/medicaid/issue-brief/new-incentive-for-states-toadopt-the-aca-medicaid-expansion-implications-for-state-spending/.
³ Kaiser Family Foundation, “Who Could Medicaid Reach with Expansion in Mississippi?” (Washington DC: Kaiser Family Foundation, February 2021), available at http://files.kff.org/attachment/fact-sheet-medicaid-expansion-MS.
4 See Methodology section at https://ccf.georgetown.edu/2021/04/18/low-wage-worker-fact-sheet-methodology for more information on sources of data and analysis methods. Most data are from 2019; county data are from American Community Survey 5-year data prepared tables.