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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R)

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Thursday, January 26, 2017


Bill includes premium relief, preservation of care, reforms to increase competition and choice

ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House overwhelmingly approved a package of health insurance relief and reform on Thursday, sending it to the governor for his anticipated approval.

The package (S.F. 1), which passed the Senate earlier in the day, provides a 25-percent premium reduction to Minnesotans who do not qualify for MNsure tax credits on the individual market. It also includes key Republican-led reforms to preserve care for those receiving life-saving treatments and increase competition and consumer choice moving forward.

“We’ve been hearing a lot from families that are hurting and getting hit hard not only by premium increases and limited access as well,” said Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent. “Hopefully this bill starts the rebuilding process so that as plans are created for 2018, we can increase accessibility and increase options so we can start turning this ship around from the iceberg that is Obamacare.”

The bill passed both bodies with bipartisan support and Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to sign it.

Republican-led reforms in the final bill include:

  • Allowing for-profit HMOs to operate in Minnesota (like most states) which will increase options for consumers.
  • Modifying stop loss coverage to make it easier for more small businesses to offer affordable insurance to their employees.
  • Providing greater transparency for proposed insurance premium changes by requiring earlier disclosure of proposed rates.
  • Allowing Agricultural Cooperatives to offer group health insurance to their members so farmers and their families can get better access to care and more affordable coverage.
  • Ensuring Minnesota employees can benefit from the recently passed federal 21st Century Cures Act which allows employers to make pre-tax contributions toward employee health insurance costs.
  • Network adequacy reform that will assist in ensuring more options for residents in rural Minnesota.
  • Prohibiting surprise billing to protect consumers from previously undisclosed costs.