Governor Jay Nixon signs Health Insurance Rate Review
Missouri Health Care for All cheers steps to protect Missouri consumers
Missouri Health Care for All (MHCFA) applauds the July 5th signing of SB865 which finally allows Missouri’s Department of Insurance to review insurance rates filed by health insurance companies, and to determine if the rates are reasonable.
Missouri Health Care for All’s Executive Director, Jen Bersdale, explains the significance of this issue: “Until now, Missouri has been the only state in the country where our Department of Insurance has no authority to review or publish the premiums being charged by health insurance companies. Without this basic transparency, consumers have no way of determining whether the rates they are being charged are fair.”
Professor Sidney Watson, the Jane and Bruce Robert Professor of Law at Saint Louis University’s Center for Health Law Studies and a Missouri Health Care for All Board Member, points out that Missouri families are suffering under high premiums, especially in certain parts of the state. “Our analysis of plans being sold in the Health Insurance Marketplace determined that while rates have risen an average of 6% nationally over the last two years, they have risen 24% in Missouri. In addition, rates are significantly different across Missouri, with consumers paying as much as $100 more each month in Hannibal and West Plains than they would in St. Louis or Kansas City. Rate review would help us shed light on the reasons for these variances and what we can do to address them.”
Sarah Gentry, Policy Director with Missouri Health Care for All, lauds the bipartisan coalition that propelled rate review to passage. “There were rate review bills sponsored by Reps. Charlie Davis (R – Webb City), Bill White (R – Joplin), and Margo McNeill (D – St. Louis County). We were delighted to work together with all three representatives to advance this issue, and we applaud them for their leadership and collaboration.”
Crystal Brigman Mahaney, MHCFA’s Deputy Director, notes that grassroots supporters from across the state have spoken out in support of rate review for years. “Our members understand that transparency is the first step to bringing down the high cost of premiums for Missouri families. Hundreds of Missouri Health Care for All supporters voiced their support for rate review by calling, e-mailing and meeting with their legislators, as well as by writing letters to the editor and educating their friends and neighbors.”