Cross-state health insurance proposal heard by committee

Missouri’s health insurance companies could start feeling the heat from neighboring states as a bill designed to spur competition recently was discussed in a house committee.

The bill would make health insurance from Missouri’s eight neighboring states accessible to state residents.

The sponsor of the bill, House Majority Whip Jason Smith, R-Salem, told the House Health Insurance Committee his plan is intended to drive down insurance prices through competition.

“The way that I look at it is more competition. You can look at cheaper insurance by competition of insurance providers in eight different states,” Smith said.

Representative Mary Still, D-Columbia, of the House Health Insurance Committee says the plan sounds good at first but might have negative consequences for the state.

“If you’re trying to get insurance and you’re young and healthy, you’re going to go to the place with the least requirements so you can get it cheaper in any state nearby. It sort of leaves the more sickly people to us in the state,” Still said.

The bill is expected to cost the state up to $28 million in lost insurance premium taxes.

The committee took no immediate action regarding the bill.

– Missouri Digital News