Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 6:37 am
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.
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. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius speaks to reporters at St. Louis City Hall, while St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, St. Louis City Health Director Pam Walker, and St. Louis County Health Director Delores Gunn look on (left to right).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.