Missouri Government Actions on COVID-19
HeplerBroom understands how staying abreast of the latest developments related to COVID-19 is important to your business and planning for the future. We have assembled some of the executive, legislative, and regulatory actions related to COVID-19 that may affect you. Missouri has recently taken a number of actions to manage this public health crisis, which are summarized below.
SOCIAL & CIVIL LIFE
Several Missouri counties have issued executive stay-at-home orders. These counties include Cass, Jackson, Clay, Platte, Johnson, Kansas City, Columbia, and Boone. Some counties issued orders through April 24 but leave open the option to extend if necessary. The purpose of these stay-at-home orders are to minimize person-to-person contact and maximize citizen safety.
In an effort to comply with the stay-at home order and to minimize person-to-person contact and the spread of COVID-19, the Missouri House and Senate have been busy working on a temporary solution. The House and Senate have been diligently working on a way to pass emergency aid legislation to help those affected by the current pandemic. The legislature has also been working to find a way to pass the budget and support any emergency aid it passes.
The Missouri Governor issued an executive order granting the Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance the authority to temporarily waive or suspend the operation of statutes and regulations under its purview. The purpose of this decision is to better serve the interest of the public’s health, safety, and welfare.
Maximizing the authority granted by the Missouri Governor, the Director of the Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance issued a bulletin to insurers directing insurers to take certain steps to ensure citizens are covered during this unprecedented time. For example, all insurers and entities are to allow a grace period for individuals who had coverage on March 13, 2020, until the bulletin is rescinded. The Director strongly encouraged insurers not to cancel, non-renew, or terminate coverage while the bulletin is in effect. This includes allowing a 60-day grace period for the same individuals where premium or subscription charges are unpaid and providing information about the steps being taken in response to the bulletin. By exercising maximum flexibility, insurers will be able to best meet the needs of their policy holders.
The bulletin, above, issued by the Director of the Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance is to apply to all insurers including, but not limited to, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), health service corporations (HSCs), utilization review agents, and any and all other entities doing business in Missouri or regulated by the Department. The bulletin also applies to any and all types of insurance including, but not limited to, life insurance, health and accident insurance, limited benefit insurance, and any and all other insurance-related entities regulated by the Department.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has issued a statement requiring certain compliance in response to COVID-19. The statement acknowledges that compliance obligations may be difficult as more employees are working from home. In addition, the statement portrays encouragement from the Department to all regulated entities to develop contingency plans to address possible reductions in the workplace and pursue all available actions necessary to maintain compliance with environmental regulations and permit requirements. To the greatest extent possible, entities should continue to document compliance including sampling and analyses, recording monitoring results, keeping accurate and current records, and completing records that document ongoing compliance. The statement ensures that the Department will continue to work with all entities that demonstrate a commitment to compliance, accepting alternate reporting schedules when appropriate. In the event that noncompliance or delayed compliance during the present crisis is unavoidable, the Department has established an email box to accept requests for Department enforcement discretion.