Thu12182014

Last updateWed, 17 Dec 2014 3pm

News

Report shows more options and savings for Missouri consumers who shop in the Health Insurance Marketplace in 2015

• Nearly 8 in 10 current Marketplace customers can get coverage for $100 or less per month after any applicable tax credits in 2015
New choices and more competition in the Health Insurance Marketplace are giving Missouri consumers affordable options during Open Enrollment this year, and the majority of returning consumers who shop can save money on premiums, according to a report released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
With 25 percent more issuers participating in the Marketplace in 2015, based on analysis of 35 states, more than 90 percent of consumers nationwide will be able to choose from three or more issuers—up from 74 percent in 2014. In Missouri, consumers can choose from 7 issuers in the Marketplace in 2015 – up from 4 in 2014.  And Missouri consumers can choose from an average of 20 health plans in their county for 2015 coverage—up from 17 in 2014. 
Nearly 8 in 10 current Marketplace consumers can find coverage in the 2015 Marketplace for $100 or less, taking into account any applicable tax credits.  In 2014, 85 percent of Missouri consumers who selected a Marketplace plan received financial assistance. For returning customers, it pays to shop.  More than 7 in 10 current Marketplace enrollees can find a lower premium plan in the same metal level—before tax credits—by returning to shop.  If all returning consumers switched from their current plan to the lowest-cost premium plan in the same metal level, the total savings in premiums would be over $2 billion.
 “The Health Insurance Marketplace is open for business, and Missouri consumers have affordable choices for renewing their coverage and signing up for the first time,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “In today’s Marketplace, issuers are competing for business. With additional quality, affordable plans available, returning Missouri customers may find an even better deal if they shop and save.”
Today’s report finds that premiums for the second-lowest cost, or “benchmark,” silver plan held stable in Missouri for 2015 coverage, with a 1 percent decrease on average before tax credits.  Nationally, premiums for the second-lowest cost, or “benchmark,” silver plan also held stable for 2015 coverage, with only a modest 2 percent increase on average before tax credits in 35 states. Many consumers will be eligible for tax credits to help with the cost of monthly premiums.
Before the Affordable Care Act, people who purchased health insurance plans in the individual market often saw double-digit rate increases on average, with very limited options for shopping around because plans could deny them coverage, or charge them higher rates based on pre-existing conditions or their gender. This year, consumers have the option to renew their current plan or shop around to select the plan that best meets their needs and their budget. And with the new window shopping tool at HealthCare.gov, it's easier than ever.
Open Enrollment in the Marketplace runs from Nov. 15, 2014, through Feb. 15, 2015.  Consumers should visit HealthCare.gov to review and compare health plan options. All consumers shopping for health insurance coverage for 2015—even those who currently have coverage through the Marketplace—should enroll or re-enroll between Nov. 15 and Dec. 15 in order to have coverage effective on Jan. 1, 2015.
Today’s report reflects individual market health plan premium data for 35 states. It does not include Oregon or Nevada, which are using the federal eligibility and enrollment platform this year, and other State-based Marketplaces.  Findings are presented at the county level, rather than by rating area, to better reflect plan service areas and the consumer experience.
For additional information on Health Plan Choice, Premiums and Affordability in the 2015 Health Insurance Marketplace, including data for states and select counties visit: http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2015/premiumReport/healthPremium2015.pdf
To preview plans, prices, covered benefits and physician and hospital networks in your area visit: https://www.healthcare.gov/find-premium-estimates/
Consumers can find local help at: Localhelp.healthcare.gov/. Or call the Federally-facilitated Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855- 889-4325. Translation services are available. The call is free.

Restricting the use of force by police is popular among newly filed bills

JEFFERSON CITY - Shortly after the decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson on charges of shooting and killing Michael Brown on Aug. 9, some Missouri lawmakers filed bills that would restrict the use of force by police.

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Missouri Supreme Court to decide if same-sex divorces are legal

JEFFERSON CITY - Although Missouri does not recognize same-sex marriage, a case involving the right for a same sex-couple married in another other state to obtain a divorce could allow the court to overturn a statewide ban on same-sex marriages.

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Improving conditions allow Missouri National Guard to begin scaling back operations in St. Louis region, Gov. Nixon announces

• Missouri National Guard maintains presence in Ferguson and other areas of St. Louis County
JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Jay Nixon today announced that improving conditions allow the Missouri National Guard to begin scaling back its operations in the St. Louis region. The Governor said the Guard has completed its duties within the City of St. Louis, and has begun to systematically reduce its presence in St. Louis County.  The Guard continues to support local law enforcement agencies in Ferguson and other areas of St. Louis County.  As of 1 p.m. today, there are 1,268 Guardsmen who remain stationed in the St. Louis region.

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Flags at state and local government buildings to be flown at half-staff on Dec. 7 for Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The U.S. and Missouri flags on all state and local government buildings in Missouri will be flown at half-staff on Sunday, Dec. 7 to commemorate those who died or were wounded during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941. A 1996 state law designates the date as Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and directs that on that day, flags be flown at half-staff by all state agencies and political subdivisions of the state.

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Gov. Nixon agrees with alternative interpretation of appropriation authority offered by legislative leaders, making special session unnecessary

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Gov. Jay Nixon announced Monday that a special session will not be necessary after agreeing with an alternative interpretation of current appropriation authority offered by legislative leadership.  Consistent with this reading of the law, the Governor will be using existing appropriations for the State Emergency Management Agency in HB 2008, Section 8.290 to fund the ongoing operations of the Missouri National Guard and the Missouri State Highway Patrol in Ferguson and the St. Louis region.

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