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Conference committee begins work on reconciling reinsurance bills

(House Photography file photo)

The House and Senate agree the state should continue it reinsurance program for companies in the individual market. The legislative bodies disagree on whether the program should function as a standalone structure or a bridge to another health-care payment system.

The Minnesota Premium Security Plan is designed to stabilize premiums by offering insurers in the individual market a backstop for very costly medical bills. The state pays a portion of the bills rather than insurance companies spreading the cost of extremely high bills by raising premiums on everyone they cover.

Conference Committee on SF3472: Extending health care premium reinsurance program - 03/28/22

Sponsored by Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL-Coon Rapids) and Sen. Gary Dahms (R-Redwood Falls), HF3717/SF3472* would continue the program for five years. A conference committee met Monday to hear the differences between the House and Senate bills. A next meeting has not been scheduled.

Conferees have a hard — and quick — deadline.

The state must pass a final version of the bill by April 1 or risk its waiver from the federal Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services.  

The Senate bill would reauthorize and fund the program for five years of the waiver. Full funding is about $1.1 billion.

The House bill would reauthorize the program and begin the process of finding alternatives.  

The search for alternatives includes a report due by January 2024 on the cost and outcomes under at least two different payment systems and would require the Department of Human Services to work with federal agencies to develop a proposal for a public option. 

The House version would also create an office to ensure mental health parity.

Additionally, the House version would require insurance companies to:

  • offer a platinum plan when they offer bronze or catastrophic coverage;
  • pay for postnatal care; and
  • offer a flat dollar co-pay drug benefit on at least 25% of their plans.

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