For more information contact: Jason Wenisch 651-296-2317
St. Paul, MN—On May 13, State Representative Jenifer Loon (R – Eden Prairie) successfully amended an omnibus commerce bill (SF 2839) to expand the ability of individuals and small businesses to purchase health insurance free from the extensive list of Minnesota mandated coverage provisions. The “flexible benefit” health insurance option was first authorized by the legislature in 2005, but it has taken a few years for insurers to develop and begin selling these plans in the marketplace. The Loon amendment increases the pool of small businesses eligible to purchase “flexible benefit” health insurance plans from the current 2 to 50 employees to all individuals purchasing their own insurance, and small businesses with up to 100 employees.
“Government mandates drive up the cost of health insurance by forcing employers to purchase plans that cover a variety of things employees might not necessarily need. By granting small businesses more options for health insurance, we give them the flexibility to provide their employees with health insurance they can afford.” said Loon. “My amendment opens the flexible benefit marketplace up to thousands more small businesses in Minnesota, offering them substantial savings on this important employee benefit. “
Under the Loon amendment, individuals and small businesses with up to 100 employees would be allowed to purchase these flexible benefit plans. In testimony before the conference committee on SF2839, some small businesses with fewer than 50 employees who are currently able to access the flexible benefits plans are saving as much as 20 percent on their health insurance costs.
Mike Hickey, Minnesota State Director for the National Federation of Independent Business, applauds Loon for her efforts and recognizes the positive impact the amendment will have on small businesses.
“We appreciate the significant effort of Rep. Loon to help small business on this critical issue,” said Hickey. “She led the fight and successfully worked with other influential legislators to get the amendment passed, and it will tremendously benefit the small business community.”
The bill passed the House and Senate with broad, bipartisan support and has been sent to the Governor’s desk where it awaits his signature.
“As we work toward economic recovery, it is important we do everything we can to help our small businesses not only survive the recession, but recover and grow,” said Loon. “Government can often be a hindrance to growth, and too many mandates can cripple our job providers. This amendment should provide some much needed relief.”
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