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Legislative Update from Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen

Friday, January 27, 2017

Hello Friends,

I am pleased to say that the House has passed MNsure premium relief and reform, and that Governor Dayton has signed this bill into law. Here is a more detailed look at the provisions included in Senate File 1 (SF1), the first MNsure bill to become law this legislative session.

My fellow House Republicans and I believed it was essential that we pass some basic reforms alongside premium relief and continuity of care measures. Simply writing a check would have done nothing to prevent an even worse situation from occurring next year.

Now that the most critical issues have been addressed, I look forward to working on and debating ways to substantially overhaul the health insurance market to make coverage more affordable for our state.

MNsure Relief

First and foremost, this bill addresses the pressing need for premium relief and continuity of care. There is over $325 million appropriated in Senate File 1 exclusively for these purposes.

Approximately $312 million is dedicated toward premium relief, which translates to a 25% discount on premium invoices for individuals and families purchasing their insurance on the individual market and the MNsure exchange.

$15 million is designated to address continuity of care issues. There are stories from around the state of critically ill individuals having to postpone life-saving cancer treatments at the Mayo Clinic due to losing their insurance coverage. Other families are concerned about losing coverage for end-of-life care for a loved one, and would have to bear the cost themselves.

Senate File 1 provides 120 days of continued care in situations where people have lost the ability to see their existing doctor in-network. It also requires carriers to insure an enrollee for their remaining days if their life expectancy is 180 days or less.

MNsure Reforms

Included alongside the relief measures mentioned above were some preliminary reforms to help prevent our insurance market from finding itself in another difficult situation.

A basic reform included in Senate File 1 is requiring the Department of Commerce to make preliminary premium rate changes public within 10 days of when they are filed. If this had been the case for the 2017 rate filings, Minnesotans would not have been blindsided by astronomical rate increases, and the Legislature would have had time to pass measures to mitigate our current situation.

Under Senate File 1, for-profit insurance providers will be allowed to sell plans in Minnesota. The goal of removing this barrier is to allow more competition in the individual market, and hopefully provide more diverse and affordable options for individuals and families shopping for coverage.

This bill also simplifies the process for agricultural cooperatives to offer group health plans to their members and employees.

Senate File 1 also ends surprise billing from your health care provider, meaning that you cannot be billed for the additional cost when an in-network surgical center or hospital uses an out-of-network provider without notifying your prior to you receiving your care.

These are just a few of the reforms included in Senate File 1.

This bill passed the House on a bipartisan vote of 108-19, and has been signed by Governor Dayton; relief is on its way.

Please contact me with any questions or concerns you may have as we move forward with session. Thank you, and God Bless.

Sincerely,

 

Glenn

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