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Parson appoints 7 to health insurance task force; first meeting scheduled

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Gov. Mike Parson has appointed seven people to a health insurance task force he created by executive order earlier this month. 

The Health Insurance Innovation Task Force was established to come up with ways to improve healthcare services and access to more affordable insurance options. Particularly, it will research a certain waiver offered to states under the Affordable Care Act and make recommendations to the governor on the best way to apply for and implement one. 

Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) Director Chlora Lindley-Myers will chair the committee. 

Andrea Croley, co-owner of Croley Insurance; Coni Fries, vice president of government relations for Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Kansas City; Gary D. Fulbright, the CFO of Citizen’s Memorial Hospital; David K. Hill, vice president and deputy general counsel of United Healthcare; Nathan T. Landsbaum, plan president and CEO of Home State Health Plan Inc.; Kandice K. Sanaie, regional director of CIGNA; and Angela Brown, acting CEO of the St. Louis Health Commission have been appointed to the task force by the governor. 

Additionally, Republican Sens. Paul Wieland and Bill White were tapped to join the group as well as GOP Reps. Justin Hill and Jon Patterson. 

“We’ve seen for years how the individual market has been really terrible for citizens,” Wieland previously told The Missouri Times of his appointment, citing skyrocketing rates and dozens of counties with limited insurance options. “We’re in a crisis state.” 

“We need to focus on trying to find innovative ways to bring insurance rates down, and we’re going to examine what other states have done. Some of what other states have done may not work in Missouri, but other stuff, we could steal their idea,” he said. 

Wieland championed a bill through the General Assembly in the 2019 legislative session that — among other things — would have established a similar working group. Parson ultimately vetoed the bill, citing the deadlines imposed on the task force. 

Only eight states have been approved for waivers and an additional six have waivers pending, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a healthcare-focused nonprofit. Wieland said states that have been successful in obtaining waivers have seen a significant savings with premiums.

The task force will hold its initial meeting on August 8 in Jefferson City.