Missouri Business Headlines

Gov. Parson signs Senate Bill 514, expanding small employers’ access to health insurance options

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Health insurance expenses and the pressures of the federal Affordable Care Act are major concerns for companies across Missouri, and these burdens are felt most acutely by small businesses.

In response to this, a new type of health insurance came to Missouri. Called a multiple employer welfare arrangement (MEWA), this model enables smaller employers to join together and share in the overall claims risk by being part of larger self-funded pool.

However, existing Missouri law prohibited brokers and providers from marketing MEWA plans to the public — making it nearly impossible for eligible groups to find out about this valuable health insurance alternative.

That will change beginning August 28, 2019, thanks to Gov. Mike Parson signing Senate Bill 514 into law on July 11.

Initially proposed by House Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann (R-O’Fallon), the final legislation was sponsored by Sen. David Sater (R-Cassville) in the Senate and Rep. Chuck Bayse (R-Rocheport) in the House. When it goes into effect, the new law will give Missouri insurance brokers the ability to market MEWA plans publicly.

The Missouri Chamber, which launched its MEWA in 2017, was the leading advocate for the bill. Available only to Missouri Chamber or Missouri Chamber Federation members with two to 50 eligible employees, the program has rapidly grown to include more than 1,200 small businesses and provides coverage to more than 17,000 Missourians.

“We hear frequently from members how the MEWA model we brought to Missouri has given them major savings while providing great coverage for their employees, and we are thrilled that this valuable option will soon be made marketable to all eligible businesses in our state,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber President and CEO. “We thank Gov. Parson for signing Senate Bill 514, and extend our gratitude to each of the leaders in the Missouri House and Senate who worked to bring this bill across the finish line and expand small employers’ access to health insurance options.”

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