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The online health insurance exchanges are now open in both Missouri and Illinois. The online marketplace is a key component of the federal health care law.
Illinois officials have set up their own marketplace at GetCoveredIllinois.gov.
Missouri voters chose to bar their government from setting up its own marketplace. So the federal government is running the exchange for Missouri residents at Healthcare.gov.
Consumers have until December 15th to sign up if they want coverage to start on January 1, but enrollment is open until March 31.
A new report gives both Missouri and Illinois poor marks for delivering health care services to low-income residents. The Commonwealth Fund's scorecard was released Wednesday.
The report looks at 30 health indicators regarding health care coverage, prevention and treatment of low-income people -- defined as 200-percent of the federal poverty level. That's about $23,000 a year for an individual or $47,000 for a family of four.
According to the report, Missouri ranks 44th out of 51 states and DC. Illinois does slightly better at 36th. Hawaii ranked first among the states and Mississippi was last.
The complete report, along with an interactive map, can be found on the Commonwealth Fund's website.
An important healthcare safety net in St. Louis is laying off more than half its staff.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that St. Louis ConnectCare has issued 60 day layoff notices to 88 employees, including nurses and other medical personnel. The non-profit organization runs an outpatient clinic at the former St. Louis Regional Medical Center and provides outpatient specialty medical services for the poor.
ConnectCare CEO Melody Eskridge told the Post that about 60 percent of the patients they serve are uninsured and about 23 percent receive Medicaid. She says ConnectCare must reorganized because for financial reasons.
Both Eskridge and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay say the Missouri Legislatures failure to expand Medicaid is at least partly to blame for ConnectCare's bleak financial outlook.