Health Care

To read about our work on Health Care for All, the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid click here

Women’s Voices Supports Public Health Policy Recommendations for Missouri in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

March 14, 2020

Women’s Voices has joined the list of organizations who demand that local and state policymakers should implement a comprehensive set of policies targeted at the populations most at risk of contracting COVID-19, and the institutions and practices that pose the greatest threat. Read more.

MO ranks highest in country for rank of uninsured children

December 11, 2019

From the Missouri Budget Project:

“Missouri’s youngest children are losing health care coverage at an alarming rate, according to an analysis released today by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. The drastic increase in both the number and rate of Missouri children under age 6 without insurance leaves kids vulnerable at a time of critical brain development and can have lasting consequences.

Extraordinary growth and development occur in the first five years of a child’s life. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 15 well child visits before age 6, and those visits are more concentrated in the first two years. In addition to vaccinations and early preventive care, developmental screenings provided at the visits can detect any delays and allow for early intervention. Regular health care can provide healthy habits for life, and families that have access to regular healthcare, including check-ups and screenings, can help prepare their child for lifelong success.

  • Between 2016 and 2018, Missouri saw a significant increase in both the number and rate of uninsured young children.
  • In fact, the state’s 1.7 percentage point increase in the rate of uninsured young kids (from 3.6 to 5.3%) was the highest in the country. The number of young, uninsured Missouri children jumped 46%.

While the uninsured rate has been increasing, Missouri has been experiencing issues with its Medicaid program. As a result of information technology changes and new renewal procedures implemented in 2018, about 100,000 children have lost Medicaid and CHIP coverage in Missouri over the past two years – despite many of those children still being eligible for services. What’s more, the 2018 Census data used in the report may not fully reflect the extent of Missouri children’s coverage losses, as many families may have lost coverage after the survey occurred.

Today’s report underscores the need for Missouri to do all it can to get and keep kids covered so they get the care they need to learn and be healthy, such as implementing 12-month continuous eligibility, boosting outreach, and correcting problems in renewal procedures.”

Read the Georgetown report here.

Learn about Medicaid in MO here.

Women’s Voices co-presidents speak out on proposed SNAP changes

On March 28, Women’s Voices co-presidents Mary Clemons and Ruth Ehresman submitted a letter to the USDA regarding proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that would time limit food benefits for unemployed and underemployed people who can’t document sufficient weekly work hours. Read their letter.

Individuals may submit comments expressing their strong opposition to the proposed rule during the 60-day public comment period that ends on April 2, 2019 here.

No More Surprise ER Bills!

May 19, 2018

Too often, Missourians who are paying faithfully for their health insurance end up with thousands of dollars of medical debt. SB 982, passed by the Missouri legislature, will protect consumers from two types of ‘surprise’ Emergency Department bills: bills for out-of-network Emergency Department doctors, and bills for Emergency Department visits that the insurance company decides not to pay.

Postpartum Medicaid Coverage Bill Passed! 

HB 2280, also passed on the last day of the 2018 session, will provide a full year of substance use treatment and mental health care through Medicaid to new moms who need treatment for a substance use disorder – women who would currently lose all coverage just 60 days after delivery. This important bill will help protect women and babies during a time when they are both especially vulnerable.

Medicaid & SNAP Busy Work Requirements Stopped!

Also during the 2018 session, Missouri legislators considered several bills that would impose busy work requirements on participants in the Medicaid and SNAP programs. These bills would have caused many Missourians to lose crucial food and health care services. Once again, your calls and emails to your legislators made an impact. Not one busy work requirement bill was passed this session!

Still Needed – Accurate Provider Directory  

May 19, 2018

HB 2612 had a public hearing but did not come up for a vote.   The bill would require health insurance carriers to post a current provider directly and allow public to view current providers for a network plan.  

New Executive Orders on Health Care

On October 12, President Trump issued two new executive orders aimed at changing the rules for health insurance.

 Read about them here

Women’s Voices Writes Insurance Commissioner Regarding Rules for Rate Review

November 30, 2016

Dear Director Huff:

We are submitting comments on behalf of Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice, an education and advocacy organization in St. Louis.  We are pleased that Missouri will join other states with the enactment of a law that allows for formal review of annual price increases in health insurance policies premiums in line with the Affordable Care Act.  We have the following three concerns we feel should be addressed in the Rate Review Rule:

  1. Public input is vital to the process of rate review. Therefore, we are requesting that the Department hold hearings for rate increases which exceed 20% and allow for rate increases over 10%. Implementing a concrete threshold will add a level of confidence to the process for consumers and will trigger deeper review for significant increases.
  1. To facilitate and encourage public input, the rule should require the Department to make rate filings public, posting Parts I and II on the Department website.
  1. Notification of rates deemed “unreasonable” should be made public by posting on the Department website and carriers should be required to post all “unreasonable” determinations on their websites as well. Adding this requirement will provide a reliable protocol for public noti

Thank you for your consideration of these comments.

Alison Hile, Advocacy Committee Chair

Linda Zazove, Health Care Liaison

Rate Review Bill Signed Into Law

On July 5, 2016, Governor Nixon signed iSenate Bill 865 which gives authority to the Missouri Department of Insurance to review rates for health plans offered under the federal Affordable Care Act.  From an article in the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

Senate Bill 865 establishes the Missouri Health Insurance Rate Transparency Act which allows the Missouri Department of Insurance to review insurance rates filed by health insurance companies, and to determine if the rates are reasonable. The rates filed by the insurance companies will also be made available online, and open to public comment prior to the rates taking effect.

“Up until now, Missouri was the only state in the nation without the ability to review health insurance rates, ceding that responsibility to the federal government,” Gov. Nixon said. “Now, with this legislation, Missouri consumers will no longer be in the dark when shopping for health insurance plans.”

Raise in Asset Limits Passes Legislature – Signed into law

People with disabilities and older Missourians on Medicaid will be able to save more of their money without sacrificing needed health coverage. HB1565 passed the MO Senate on May 10, 2016, The bill, signed into law by Governor Nixon on June 9, 2016, raises the asset limits people can have and still qualify for Medicaid.  This is the first increase in 50 years.

 Stem Cell Research

In April 2006 Women’s Voices, along with the St. Louis Chapter of Hadassah, the Ethical Action Commitee of the St. Louis Ethical Society and Friends of the First Unitarian Church, sponsored a public seminar on stem cell research. In November, 2006, Missouri voters passed a ballot measure that ensures Missouri patients will have access to any therapies and cures that may result from stem cell research, and allows Missouri scientists to conduct any research permitted under federal law.

Women’s Voices supports the work of the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures.

Position: Stem Cell Research