A New Day for Missouri: On the Road in St. Louis

Posted January 31, 2014

Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in Missouri today as St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay announced a series of citywide initiatives to help St. Louis residents learn about their options for affordable quality health insurance and get covered through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Secretary Sebelius talked about the need for quality, affordable coverage in the Show Me State, with 16 percent of Missourians -- nearly 800,000 people -- being uninsured and eligible for coverage. That includes more than 227,000 in the St. Louis area.

She also called on the state to act on the Medicaid expansion funds available under the law, noting that Missouri taxpayers are losing roughly $5 million a day while the state turns down federal dollars to expand Medicaid.

More than 130,000 people in the St. Louis area could be covered if the state expanded Medicaid. And under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government would pay 100 percent of the cost of the expansion population for the first three years and no less than 90 percent of the cost after that.

Secretary Sebelius praised St. Louis’s new initiatives to encourage uninsured people, especially part-time workers and young adults, to enroll in coverage, in line with President Obama’s State of the Union call for every American who knows someone without health insurance to help them get covered by March 31, the end of open enrollment.

The President also stressed that if you work hard and take responsibility, you should have the opportunity to make it in America. That message resonated with Nathaniel Carroll, who joined the Secretary and Mayor Slay at the outreach event.

Nathaniel, a 28-year-old husband and father of two young children, is in law school and working part time for a legal aid office in East St. Louis. His children are covered by CHIP, but he and his wife had been paying about $450 a month through a school plan – nearly 20 percent of their income—making paying for other necessities difficult.

He and his wife have now enrolled through HealthCare.gov in a Marketplace plan that costs only $43 a month, with financial assistance.  He said the money they are saving on premiums can help them better provide for their children and their future.

Nathaniel joins millions of Americans nationwide who now have health insurance that will be there when they need it -- at a price that fits their budget.

With about 3 million people and counting signed up for coverage, it’s a new day.