Insurance News

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August 9, 2011

High-risk health insurance pool reduces rates by nearly 25 percent

Coverage available for Missourians with pre-existing conditions

Jefferson City, Mo. - Missouri's new high-risk health insurance pool is offering a significant reduction in rates. The board of directors of the Missouri Health Insurance Pool has announced a 23 percent reduction in rates for new and existing policyholders in its federally funded pool.

The pool guarantees health coverage for Missourians with pre-existing medical conditions, many of whom are unable to buy a policy from private insurance companies. The pool is funded by an $81 million federal grant, and has been operated by MHIP since July 2010.

"Our aggressive rate reduction is intended to make this much-needed health coverage more affordable," said John M. Huff, director of the Missouri Department of Insurance and an MHIP board member. "This pool is now insuring more than 550 Missourians who previously had no health coverage because they could not find affordable coverage in the commercial market. This premium reduction will make comprehensive health care coverage more accessible to Missourians with pre-existing medical conditions."

Huff says monthly premiums range from $137 to $601, depending on the consumer's age and which deductible is chosen. In addition to the federal grant, the program is funded by premiums paid by policyholders. No state funds are used by the pool.

To be eligible for the federally funded pool, applicants must be Missouri residents, have a pre-existing medical condition and be uninsured for at least six months.

Consumers can apply online for insurance coverage at mhip.org or by calling toll-free 800-821-2231.

This new pool is the second operated by MHIP in Missouri. Since 1991, MHIP has run a high-risk pool for Missourians, established by state law. The state pool has more than 4,100 members. That pool is funded by premiums paid by policyholders and by fees assessed on health insurance companies operating in Missouri.

MHIP is governed by a nine-member board of directors, appointed by the director of the Missouri Department of Insurance. The current board represents a broad cross-section of stakeholders, including the insurance director, insurers, consumer advocates and health care providers.

About the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration

The Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) is responsible for consumer protection through the regulation of financial industries and professionals. The department's seven divisions work to enforce state regulations both efficiently and effectively while encouraging a competitive environment for industries and professions to ensure consumers have access to quality products.

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