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On Tuesday, two federal appeals courts issued conflicting decisions that could have major ramifications for the future of the Affordable Care Act.

The controversy hinges on whether people in the 36 states that opted NOT to set up their own health insurance exchanges can qualify for subsidies (really, tax credits) on their health insurance premiums. Missouri and Illinois are among those 36 that don't have state-run exchanges.

epSos .de / Flickr

 Last month the U.S Department of Health and Human Services announced that more than 150,000 Missourians have signed up for health insurance under the ACA and many will be paying $60 or less a month for their plan after tax credits.

I talked with Karen Edison, founding director of the MU Center for Health Policy about why this could be called a success in Missouri.

Missouri Senator Roy Blunt says the federal government's difficulty launching Healthcare.gov this fall is not really what's wrong with the Affordable Care Act.

President Obama's administration has struggled to address a myriad of problems with the site since launching Oct. 1, including users being unable to create accounts and load web pages.

Blunt cautions residents not to consider the website as a measure of whether or not the President's signature health care plan is working.

Healthcare.gov

  This week on CoMo Explained we look at how Missouri is implementing Obamacare and ask whether it'll be successful or not.


Thousands of conservatives attended CPAC St. Louis on Saturday to listen to more than 40 conservative leaders and rising stars. There were a number of last-minute speaking cancellations for the conference. Members of the US House had to stay in DC to work on a fix to avoid a partial government shutdown.

Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri also cancelled, saying he was working on a deal even though the Senate wasn’t in session. That decision drew the ire of many conservatives.

Compiled by Kelsey Proud, St. Louis Public Radio / Flickr

Starting on October 1, Missourians will be able to shop for health insurance through a new online marketplace. It’s one of the biggest changes in health insurance coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act.

But there’s still a lot of confusion about how the exchanges will work.

St. Louis Public Radio's Véronique LaCapra spoke with the Missouri Foundation for Health’s Ryan Barker to try to get some answers. Here's an excerpt from their conversation.

How will Missourians access the new health insurance options?

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in St. Louis on Thursday to talk about the Affordable Care Act.

Sebelius met with city and county officials and representatives of the local healthcare community in a closed-door session at St. Louis City Hall.

Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Sebelius said as of October 1, Missourians will be able to purchase health insurance through a new online marketplace.

Sebelius said many of Missouri's 800,000 uninsured will be able to get coverage.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

On this week's episode, we'll hear why some rural residents are reluctant to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

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Primaris Healthcare Business Solutions and the Missouri Alliance of Area Agencies on Aging have been granted federal money to hire people who will help Missouri consumers navigate the new insurance marketplace, set to open for enrollment on Oct. 1.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services quietly announced the grantees Thursday.

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The Missouri Department of Insurance has filed an emergency rule for the licensing of people that will help state residents search for health plans on an online marketplace. Legislation signed this year by Gov. Jay Nixon creates state requirements for the helpers, who are called navigators.

People applying for a state license will need to pass an examination. The cost for applying will be $25 for individuals and $50 for an entity. Licenses will be valid for two years. Requirements for a navigator license will include being age 18 or older, living in Missouri or keeping a business in the state. Those wanting to be navigators also should not have committed any acts that would grounds to refuse an insurance producer license.

File / KBIA

 Governor Jay Nixon signed a bill that now requires insurance counselors or navigators to be licensed by the state.

The counselors are required to get the license in order to help consumers search for their insurance options on an online marketplace called a health insurance exchange. The exchanges are set to start on October 1st  of this year as part of the Affordable Care Act.  

pinprick / FLICKR

 Update: Gov. Jay Nixon signed SB 262 into law on Friday, July 12. 

A bill that was pushed by the state's insurance agents association could create a barrier in getting Missourians enrolled in time for the new online health insurance marketplace  one of the key parts of the health care reform law.

Will Missouri ever play nice with Obamacare?

Jul 10, 2013
seriouslysilly / Flickr

  This week guest host Harum Helmy explains all the ways Missouri is mucking up the implementation of "Obamacare."


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Missourians are already seeing changes in healthcare coverage since the Affordable Care Act was first implemented. According to Ryan Barker,  Director of Health Policy for the Missouri Foundation for Health, changes already affecting Missourians include provisions allowing young people to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until the age of 26, Medicare coverage of preventative services without a co-pay, and a new rule that requires some insurance providers to partially reimburse customers if they don’t limit overhead and administrative costs.

A new report by the Missouri Foundation for Health estimates that about two-thirds of Missouri’s more than 800,000 uninsured could get health insurance under the federal health care law. The county level data suggest that rural counties will benefit the most.

Regional news coverage from the KBIA newsroom, including:

  • Work to resume at damaged Mo. levee
  • Report finds new federal health care law could cover two thirds of Mo. uninsured
  • Third person electrocuted at Lake of the Ozarks
j.stephenconn / Flickr

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling, upholding the federal health law, has provided more clarity to the region and country. 

David Shane / Flickr

Top Missouri Republicans say they have no intention of expanding Medicaid eligibility as a result of the Supreme Court's ruling on the federal health care law.

The high court struck down a provision Thursday that threatened states with the loss of existing federal Medicaid dollars if they refuse to expand coverage to adults earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. That ruling essentially makes the expansion optional for states.

House Majority Leader Tim Jones says the Republican-led Legislature will not consider the expansion.