SB23 - Establishes the "Missouri Universal Health Assurance Program" to provide health care benefits to all MO citizens
SB 0023 Establishes the "Missouri Universal Health Assurance Program" to provide health care benefits to all MO citizens
Sponsor:Bland
LR Number:0150S.01I Fiscal Note:0150-01
Committee:Small Business, Insurance & Industrial Relations
Last Action:02/19/03 - Hearing Scheduled But Not Heard S Small Business, Journal page:
Insurance & Industrial Relations Committee
Title:
Effective Date:Contingent
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Current Bill Summary

SB 23 - This act establishes the "Missouri Universal Health Assurance Program" (Program). The Program is a publicly- financed, statewide insurance program that will provide comprehensive health care coverage for Missouri residents.

The Director of the Department of Health will divide the population of the state into six regional districts, with an advisory council of seven private citizens established for each district. The advisory councils will assist the Board in development of a comprehensive state health care plan and will develop a transportation plan for indigent, elderly, and disabled clients.

The Program will be administered by a nineteen member Board of Governors, ten of which will be appointed by the Governor. The Directors of the Departments of Social Services, Health, and Mental Health will be ex-officio members and the Board shall include a representation of minority and disabled individuals. The Board will be responsible for implementing the Program, monitoring expenditures, adopting rules, employing staff, and studying the means of incorporating institutional long-term care benefits into the Program. An annual report will be required after conducting investigations and utilization reviews.

An annual comprehensive state health care plan should be established by the Board and should include a budget, an evaluation of district health care needs, and goals for various parts of the Program. Prior to establishment, the Board should appoint advisory subcommittees of health care research and ethics experts and public hearings should be held. The resulting comprehensive health care plan should seek to secure the most cost-effective health care.

The Board shall establish the "Missouri Health Care Trust Fund" which will be used for all aspects of Program operation. Revenues held in the trust fund are not subject to appropriation or allotment by the State or any political subdivision of the State. Various accounts will be created within the trust fund for specific purposes.

Every person who is a resident of Missouri, regardless of preexisting conditions, will be eligible to receive benefits for covered services under the Program. Persons who are not residents, but who are employed in Missouri will be eligible for benefits if a health premium surcharge is paid. Certain services, as listed, will not be covered under this Program.

The Program shall pay the expenses of institutional providers of health care and each provider shall negotiate an annual budget with the Program to cover anticipated expenses. The Program will reimburse independent providers of health care on a fee for service basis. Other insurers and employers may offer benefits that do not duplicate those offered by the Program. Sections 354.750 to 354.816 of this act will become effective April 1 of the year following the award of a waiver by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Every employer or self-employed person within the State will pay a health premium surcharge to the Department of Revenue based on the number of employees it has. A health premium surcharge, in addition to the state income tax, will be imposed on residents' gross income. An employer may agree to pay all or part of an employee's surcharge.

No later than thirty days after the effective date of this act, the Department of Social Services shall apply to the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services for all health care program waivers that would enable the state to deposit federal funds into the Missouri Health Care Trust Fund created in Section 354.771. The Department should also identify other federal fund sources. Under the same time frame, the Governor shall appoint Board members.

The Board shall request that the Program be made available to federal employees and retirees while they are residents of Missouri.

For five consecutive tax years after approval of the Program, any employer who has twenty-five or less employees will be allowed a tax credit against the new tax due in incremental amounts.

Certain sections of this act have a conditional effective date and the entire act will be submitted to the voters of the state for approval or rejection in November, 2004.

This act is identical to SB 762 (2002).
LORIE TOWE