MissouriRepublican House leaders have introduced legislation that would expand healthcoverage to low-income state residents and require beneficiaries to contributemoney to savings accounts to use toward deductibles and copayments, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The proposal, called"Insure Missouri,"is intended to replace a proposal of the same name by Gov. Matt Blunt (R). Blunt'sproposal failed to garner enough support among lawmakers.
Under the Republican proposal, individuals with annual incomes less than 85% ofthe federal poverty level would be eligible for coverage. Eventually, theincome threshold could reach 225% of the poverty level. Beneficiaries would usea state Web site to purchase individual insurance policies with a set packageof benefits. People who were denied coverage by insurers would be able toparticipate in a high-risk pool. The state would pay the premiums.
Beneficiaries also would be required to contribute 1% to 5% of their annualincomes, based on a sliding scale, to a savings account to pay deductibles andcopays. Those who do not comply with the savings component would lose coverage.Deductibles could be as much as $2,500. The first $300 in preventive healthcare and two doctor visits would not be subject to deductibles or copays. Thebill also would call for changes to the certification process for new medicalfacilities and enforce a price transparency mandate.
The proposal initially would cost the state an estimated $46 million and expandcoverage to an additional 77,000 state residents (Young, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 4/7).
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