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ST. PAUL — Beginning today, two key provisions of the Affordable Care Act go into effect, providing consumers with rebates and ensuring women have access to reproductive and preventative health services. State Representative Erin Murphy (DFL—St. Paul) believes that these provisions are important steps forward in improving care for Minnesotans, while also helping them curtail health care costs.
“We’ve heard a lot of rhetoric and fear mongering from a lot of different groups about the ACA,” said Rep. Murphy. “With the Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act, the benefits of the law are reaching Minnesota families. I expect that many Minnesotans will be pleased with the effect it has on their quality of life, their health and their pocketbook.”
Resulting from the ACA is the 80/20 rule. Championed by U.S. Senator Al Franken, this provision requires that 80-85% of premium dollars must be spent on health care and quality improvements for enrollees, rather than overhead costs and executive bonuses. Insurance companies that fail to hit that mark are required to issue a rebate directly to consumers. Checks totaling $498,000 will start arriving for more than 30,000 Minnesotans this week, averaging $38 per family.
“While everyone loves getting a check in the mail, I believe the most important piece of this ACA provision is that it now holds insurance companies accountable,” explained Rep. Murphy. “Requiring health insurance companies to spend your money on improving care, rather than advertising or CEO bonuses, means that consumers are getting more for the money they put in. Health insurance should be about improving the health of its enrollees, not lining the pockets of their executives.”
Additionally, starting today the Women’s Preventative Health Amendment goes into effect, ensuring women have access to cancer screening, wellness visits, contraception coverage, prenatal care, and counseling for domestic and interpersonal violence. Under this provision, all health plans must cover preventative services without co-pays, deductibles, or other cost sharing. Exemptions will be granted to religious based employers who choose to opt-out, though insurance companies will be required to offer coverage directly to these employees.
“Too often cost is a barrier in seeking out effective preventative services. Breaking that barrier is a significant move forward in ensuring that women across the country are receiving the care they need to maintain their health,” said Rep. Murphy.
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