Mo. Legislators Await Governor’s Signature on Bill to Help Businesses Provide Insurance

Missouri lawmakers have voted to make it easier to start group health insurance plans.

The Senate voted 31-0 on Wednesday to drop the minimum number of people necessary to start a group health insurance plan from 100 members to 50. The bill was approved by the House (HB1827) last month and now goes to the governor.

Sen. Jack Goodman, (R-Mount Vernon), said the bill would increase how many people have access to health care and is one of the most important proposals lawmakers will consider this session.

The Department of Insurance also would be allowed to exempt insurers that cover both small and large businesses from certain rate restrictions.

Sen. Jason Crowell, who had filed a similar version, said the idea represented a shift in the public policy debate about how to get more people access to doctors and basic health care.

Crowell, (R-Cape Girardeau), said that for too long lawmakers have tried to get more people enrolled in government programs rather than making it easier for private businesses to provide private insurance.

He said rather than “investing all our resources and focusing on how we can get more and more people on the public rolls,” the bill would use “market principles and forces” to expand health care access.