Parson to host business panel discussion in St. Louis about rising health care costs

Gov. Mike Parson discusses Missouri budget transparency (ALISHA SHURR/MISSOURI TIMES.)

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Missouri’s chief executive officer is set to meet with small business leaders to discuss the rising cost of healthcare and the need for innovative solutions.

Gov. Mike Parson is scheduled to host the panel, which will center around “Tackling Rising Healthcare Costs for Small Businesses,” at 1 p.m. on Wednesday in St. Louis.

“The rising cost of health care is one of the biggest issues facing our small businesses. It’s important to take the time to learn from Missouri employers about how this problem is impacting their ability to grow,” said Parson. “The best way to move forward is to bring everyone to the table and look for innovative health care solutions that, when enabled by state government, can scale statewide to the benefit of the many, many Missourians who receive health coverage through their jobs at small employers.”

More than 70 percent of business leaders say rising health care costs will limit growth at their businesses, according to a Gallup survey conducted by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry as part of the Missouri 2030 strategic initiative.

The St. Louis panel will discuss the need for innovative solutions to the rising cost of health care. Included in the discussion will be a new type of health care coverage that was recently made available in Missouri. The model, called a multiple employer welfare arrangement, or MEWA, enables smaller employers to join together and share in the overall claims risk by being part of larger self-funded pool.

In collaboration with local chambers of commerce across the state, the Missouri Chamber launched a MEWA in 2017. It recently expanded it statewide. Available only to chamber members, the MEWA now includes more than 600 small businesses, providing coverage to more than 10,000 Missourians.

“Health care is a critical issue for small businesses and we are thankful Gov. Parson is taking time to hear from company leaders about why this hurting growth and putting a damper on our state’s economy,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO. “We have been thrilled to see so many chamber members take advantage of the MEWA model we brought to Missouri. We regularly hear how this plan is leading to major savings while providing great coverage for employees. However, we feel much more needs to be done to make health care affordable for all businesses in our state and we are eager to work with Gov. Parson on this issue.”

The discussion will take place at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, December 5, at Sauce on the Side at 4261 Manchester Blvd., St. Louis, Missouri.