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With a health insurance exchange, people without health coverage could enter their information and search for insurance plans and compare prices. A panel of Republican and Democratic senators held a public hearing in Springfield to find out what people in Southwest Missouri think about the state setting up an exchange. Among those who testified at the meeting was Shelby Butler. She’s the access coordinator at the Southwest Center for Independent Living and works with individuals with disabilities. She told the senate committee that it’s a good idea to set up the exchange, especially for people with pre-existing conditions. She also says it will benefit others.
“There is a group of people that has been waiting for Medicare. They’re under the age that makes you automatically eligible. They’ve filed for permanent disability, and when you do that, when you first start receiving disability payments, you have to wait over two years to get Medicare, so you’re in limbo where you don’t have Medicare coverage. We think the healthcare exchange might be a place where they can get healthcare until they’re eligible for Medicare.”
Butler says that’s just one example of a group of people who would benefit from being able to buy health insurance through an exchange. Supporters of the exchange concept say they hope prices would go down because a large group of people would participate and there would be increased competition between insurance companies.
The chair of the senate interim committee has said he’s not yet sure whether or not he will file a bill creating a healthcare exchange during the legislative session that begins in January.