June 30, 2017

Missouri Director of Insurance: No Bare Counties for Health Insurance in 2018

Centene Corporation steps forward to fill coverage void left in 25 Missouri Counties

Jefferson City, Mo. – In a little over a month after learning residents in 25 western Missouri counties would not have any health insurers offering coverage in the individual health insurance market in 2018, the Missouri Department of Insurance has been notified that Clayton, Missouri-based Centene Corporation will begin selling health plans in all of those 25 western Missouri counties.

Celtic Insurance Company, a subsidiary of Centene Corporation and an affiliate of Home State Health Plan, announced this morning its intent to offer health plans in the individual health insurance market in the 25 western Missouri counties recently impacted by the departure of BlueCross BlueShield of Kansas City. This will be Centene’s first participation on the Federal Marketplace in Missouri and represents a significant expansion of their presence in the commercial private insurance market.

“This is extremely positive news for all Missourians. We appreciate and want to commend Centene for making the decision to enter the market and serve Missourians at a time when other health insurers are leaving,” said Missouri Insurance Director Chlora Lindley-Myers. “Our collaboration with Centene and other local stakeholders reflects the strength and leadership of state-based regulation in solving problems for our fellow citizens.”

The most recent decision by BlueCross BlueShield Kansas City impacted approximately 30,000 Missouri customers who currently have coverage with the company. However, BCBSKC was the last insurer left in those 25 Western Missouri counties. This meant nearly 500,000 Missourians would not have had access to any health insurance coverage in 2018, unless they had coverage available through their or a family member’s employer, Medicaid, Medicare, TriCare or some other public health program.

Director Lindley-Myers cautions that final decisions as to health insurance Exchange participation in 2018 and service areas will likely not be final until late September, when insurance companies sign contracts with the Federal Marketplace.