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St. Paul -- During debate on the Health and Human Services Omnibus Finance Bill in the Minnesota House, State Representative Jenifer Loon (R Eden Prairie) brought forth an amendment that would have given Minnesotans the opportunity to save money on their health insurance.
Her amendment would have opened up the health insurance market in Minnesota by creating additional choices for individuals and small businesses when purchasing private health insurance products.
The number of mandates Minnesota has placed on our health insurance more than any other state serves to drive the price of coverage up for individuals who must purchase their own insurance, Loon said. If we give people the choice of where to buy insurance from, they can save money.
Currently Minnesota law limits the availability of health plans and stifles innovation and competition by forcing individuals to purchase health care coverage from a short list of companies. This lack of competition drives prices up for consumers. It also requires people to carry coverage they will not use. One example cited during the House debate was the requirement for single males to have prenatal health insurance coverage.
Rep. Loon commented on the many constituents and small business owners that have contacted her about the rising costs of health care. If we give people more options they can find a policy that is more cost effective and better suited to their needs, she stated.
Her amendment was voted down by a vote of 49-84.
Rep. Loon has authored other legislation to help make health insurance more affordable as well. One of her bills would allow individuals to deduct health insurance premiums from their income taxes. Loon cited this as an important matter of parity. Currently individuals cannot deduct these costs when they purchase insurance, but companies can.
Making health insurance more affordable for individuals is one of my main goals, Loon reiterated. I will continue to push for this throughout the legislative session.
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