By Carla Anderson
February 17, 2014
Missouri has balked at most provisions of the Affordable Care Act. It refused to implement a state-run marketplace, rejected Medicaid expansion, and passed several laws that effectively restrict consumer assistance. Missouri requires training and licensing for navigators that go far beyond federal standards. Legislation also prohibits navigators from providing “advice concerning the benefits, terms and features of a particular health plan, or offer advice about which exchange health plan is better or worse for a particular individual or employer.” Several health care advocacy groups challenged the restriction on providing advice, saying that is the core function of navigators. In January, a federal judge agreed and issued a temporary injunction to halt enforcement of the law. Legal experts believe the judge’s decision will have implications for other states that have enacted similar restrictions on navigators.
While the state has actively opposed the health reform law, Missouri residents are visiting the marketplace and seeking coverage. The number of Missouri residents who have purchased health insurance through HealthCare.gov now stands at 54,157 according to the latest enrollment report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, more than 27,000 people qualified for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Enrollment for private insurance in 2014 continues through March 31. Policies purchased by the 15th of the month will be effective the first day of the following month. Individuals who remain uninsured after March may face a tax penalty of $95 or one percent of income, whichever is greater. Enrollment for Medicaid or CHIP continues throughout the year. If you need help understanding your options and enrolling in coverage, visit the Missouri Department of Insurance website for a list of organizations and individuals who have been licensed as navigators.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Missouri, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, and Coventry are selling policies through the federal marketplace in Missouri. On average, consumers have a choice of 17 policy options. That’s much lower than the national average of 53 options.
While a small number of insurers often predicates higher premium costs, Missouri consumers will see premiums near the national average. According to a report released by HHS, the average cost for a bronze plan —the lowest-cost option — in Missouri is $245 a month. The national average for a bronze policy is $249 a month.
According to HHS, about 800,000 Missouri residents are uninsured and eligible to purchase insurance through the new marketplace. HHS also estimates that 93 percent of those people would qualify for subsidies to purchase insurance through the exchange or be eligible for Medicaid through the expansion allowed by the Affordable Care Act. However, Missouri has repeatedly rejected the Medicaid expansion. That means an estimated 226,525 people won’t qualify for either Medicaid or tax subsidies to help them purchase private insurance through the marketplace.
State Exchange Profile: Missouri
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation overview of Missouri’s progress toward creating a state health insurance exchange.
Missouri Department of Insurance
Assists people insured by private health plans, Medicaid, or other plans in resolving problems pertaining to their health coverage; assists uninsured residents with access to care.
(800) 726-7390 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Let your Missouri governor and legislators know how you feel about the state’s proposed health insurance exchange.