Missouri to help test federal government’s healthcare marketplace

Missouri to help test federal government’s healthcare marketplace
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Small business owners in Missouri will soon be able to get an early look at the federal health insurance marketplace. Missouri is one of four other states to be included in this testing phase of the healthcare marketplace. Other states include Illinois, Ohio, New Jersey, and Delaware.

Time will tell if the small business healthcare marketplace proves successful. One local healthcare insurance agent, Mark VonMoss, says the only real benefit of a business owner buying insurance through the marketplace is that the business owner would receive tax breaks to help pay for that insurance. VonMoss says there’s no difference in rates between health insurance inside or outside the marketplace.

“You had tax breaks available prior to this. Then when the shop became available, now the only way to get those tax breaks is to buy your plan within the shop,” says VonMoss with The Insurancenter in Joplin.

One local business owner, who already provides health insurance to his workers, says he’ll see what the federal health insurance marketplace has to offer.

“When we bought insurance, we had to balance what we could afford with what coverages we wanted. We had to give a little here and give a little there in order to come up with a compromise that worked. Hopefully, we’ll look for a little more of them give and a little less of us give,” says Rick Nixon with Nixon’s Garage in Joplin.

“A certain politician said we have to pass it to see what’s in it,” says VonMoss. “I think that’s kind of happening at this point. We are seeing a lot of the stuff that’s in it that wasn’t talked about initially.”

The small business marketplace will be open to Missouri in late October, while much of the rest of the nation will see the marketplace open in November.

The federal small business healthcare marketplace could end up as a big money waster for insurance companies.

“There’s a thing called adverse selection in the insurance industry. And adverse selection, basically, is if you cannot underwrite your risk, you don’t know what the risk is when you take on the risk. And if you don’t know how to set your rates properly for the risk that you’re taking on, you’re going to have more claims than to make up for the losses that you’re going to have,” says VonMoss.

Many health insurance agents recommend that people ask for advice before purchasing health insurance through the federal marketplace.