health insurance

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Seniority, income determining factors in new Illinois insurance law

Governor Pat Quinn's office announced early this morning that he has signed a measure that will require retired state and public university employees to kick in more money for their health insurance. 

Retirees with at least 20 years of service currently get free health coverage. Those with less time on the job pay for a portion of the cost.

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Two ballot questions going before Missouri voters in November won’t cost or save the state any money, according the State Auditor’s office.

One in particular would make changes to how appellate judges are selected.  The fiscal note for that measure was put together by Deputy Auditor Harry Otto.

“(We contacted) four statewide offices, 20 other departments/agencies, the House and Senate," Otto said.  "Out of those 24 places that we contacted we received comments from 16, and all 16 said ‘no costs associated with this measure.’”

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Missouri senators have passed legislation specifically allowing employers to refuse, on religious ground, to provide health insurance that covers contraception, sterilization or abortion.

The Senate's 28-6 vote Friday moved the bill to the Missouri House, where it was passed during mid-afternoon.

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Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Guy Stephens and Brian Mackey was used in this report.

Longtime state employees would no longer be able get free health insurance when they retire under legislation approved by the Illinois House today.

The vote is part of a push to cut pension benefits for government retirees. The governor, House speaker and other officials want to save money by cutting pensions, health care and other costs.

House Republican Leader Tom Cross says it's the first of many difficult votes to come.

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The Missouri Senate has rejected an attempt to set up a state-run health insurance exchange.

The exchanges are part of the federal health care law approved in 2009. States are required to create exchanges by 2014 so that individuals and small business can compare health insurance plans.

On Monday, Sen. Joe Keaveny tried to add an amendment setting up the exchanges to a life insurance bill being debated by the Senate.

The full Senate rejected the amendment in a voice vote.

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Mo. revenues behind amount needed for budget

Missouri's revenues continue to be behind what is needed to balance the budget. January's figures show that net state revenues grew two percent over the same month last year.

The fiscal year began in July. For the first seven months of the 2012 fiscal year, Missouri's general revenues were up 1.3 percent. That is almost half the 2.7 percent growth rate that the governor's budget office says is needed to meet the budget.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A State Senate committee heard testimony today on legislation designed to block Governor Jay Nixon (D) from creating a health insurance exchange.

The proposed exchange is part of the national health care law signed by President Obama nearly two years ago.  All states are required to have an online exchange where customers can buy health coverage, and any state that doesn’t have one by the year 2014 will have one created for them by Washington.  The bill sponsored by State Senator Rob Schaaf (R, St. Joseph) would block the Governor and any agency under his authority from creating an exchange by executive order.

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Missouri insurance officials have postponed a vote to draw down $13 million from Washington that would be used to help set up a health insurance exchange.  The exchange is required by the new federal health care law.

Members of the state’s health insurance pool had tentatively planned to take action today, but State Senators Jim Lembke (R, Lemay), Jane Cunningham (R, Chesterfield) and Rob Schaaf (R, St. Joseph) dropped in on the meeting and persuaded them to postpone the vote.

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Missouri has received a federal grant of close to $21 million to help build an online health insurance exchange.

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Missouri's high-risk health insurance pool is cutting its rates by 23 percent.

The state Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration announced the cut in rates Tuesday.  The high-risk insurance pool is funded by an $81 million federal grant.

Department spokesman Travis Ford says the decrease is for both new and existing policyholders.

A report by Elana Gordon, KCUR

Missouri's new high-risk insurance program is dropping premiums by as much as 25 percent. 

The state launched the pool this summer as part of the federal health law.

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Steven Powell wants to change the way health care providers charge for their product.

Powell, a factory worker, filed suit Friday challenging a billing practice known as balance billing.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

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