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Missouri drops health insurance premiums for high-risk pool Posted: January 18th, 2011

By Maryalene LaPonsie

Missouri residents eligible for health insurance through a federally funded high-risk pool will receive a price break on premiums beginning Feb. 1. It is hoped that reducing premiums by 25 percent will increase interest in the pool's three health plans.

Under health reform, each state must maintain a high-risk pool to provide health insurance to individuals with pre-existing conditions. The Missouri Health Insurance Pool, which administers the state's program, is funded in part by an $81 million subsidy from the federal government.

The funding was intended to support up to 1,000 members in the high-risk pool. However, high premiums have reportedly led to only 250 enrolling in the plan since its creation in July. The new premiums will range from $178 to $780 a month, depending on an individual's age and deductible.

In a statement, Missouri Insurance Director John M. Huff said, "by significantly lowering premiums, we are making health insurance more affordable for Missourians with pre-existing medical conditions." The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates 734,000 individuals in the state are uninsured.