ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House of Representatives on Monday approved a bill which aims to provide double-digit reductions on health insurance premiums by mitigating the impact of high-risk consumers in the individual market.
Dubbed the Minnesota Premium Security Plan, the proposal would establish a state-based reinsurance program administered by the Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association, which for more than 40 years ran a high-risk pool that brought stability to the individual market and ensured the sickest Minnesotans had access to coverage. Projections indicate the move could reduce premiums by approximately 18 percent.
“The House is taking another step toward restoring some common sense in our health care areas,” said Rep. Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls. “It's going to be helping as we find ways to undo Obamacare in Minnesota, the same time the federal government is doing the same thing, probably in a different way. This reinsurance program is a step in the right direction and folks in Minnesota will benefit from it. It will be a small step, but it’s a major one.”
The new program would be funded by existing revenue sources. The MCHA board, comprised of members of the public and health plan experts, would design payment parameters to mitigate risk, stabilize or reduce premium rates, increase participation, and account for federal funding available for the plan.
Parameters would be submitted to the Department of Commerce for approval. The board also would have the authority to audit eligible health carriers and is required to contract with an independent auditor for an annual reinsurance program.
The House bill (H.F. 5) passed 78-53. The Senate is expected to vote on a similar proposal in the coming weeks.