Update from the Capitol: February 11, 2016

February 11, 2016

We are now 5 weeks into the 2016 Missouri legislative session, with just XX weeks left to go. We know it can be hard to tell from outside the Capitol what’s really going on, so we wanted to update you on several important health policy issues.

You can help us expand access to health care by attending our first 2016 Lobby Day next Wednesday, February 17. If you haven’t already signed up, click here to RSVP.

Closing the Coverage Gap
As you know, there are still 300,000 Missourians with no good option for affordable health insurance, due to inaction on the part of our legislators. Missouri is now one of only 19 states that has not yet acted to close its coverage gap. While there have been three bills filed this year which would close the gap, there has not been any serious discussion or movement in the General Assembly.

If you haven’t already, click here to e-mail your legislators and urge them to close Missouri’s coverage gap.

Raising Medicaid Asset Limits
Missouri Health Care for All supports HB 1565, which would raise asset limits for seniors and people with disabilities on Medicaid. Currently, these individuals lose their Medicaid if they have more than $1,000 (individual) or $2,000 (couple) in the bank. This means that people cannot save their own money for expenses such as home repairs or medical equipment. HB 1565 would gradually raise these limits to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for couples, allowing people to save for a rainy day and still keep their health care.

HB 1565 has passed out of committee and will move to the House floor for a full vote. Please call your representative and urge him or her to Vote YES on HB 1565. Click here to find your representative.

Rate Review
Missouri is now the only state in the country where the Department of Insurance does not have the authority to collect and review health insurance premiums. As a result, we have no idea whether the premiums Missourians are paying are fair, or why Missourians in different parts of the state are paying such different rates. New data that has just come in shows that Missourians faced higher insurance rate increases last year than the national average. Passing Rate Review would help keep premiums lower for Missourians. While Rate Review legislation has been filed, there has not yet been a committee hearing.

Protecting Missourians from High Deductibles
Yesterday, the House Health Insurance Committee considered a bill that would have subjected some Missourians to sky-high insurance deductibles. We were very relieved that the House Committee defeated this bill.

There is a lot going on that impacts Missourians’ access to health insurance – and stunning silence about the most important way our state could expand access. We will continue to keep you posted about what is going on in Jefferson City and how you can help.

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