ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House of Representatives on Monday approved a bill designed 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. Estimates indicate the move could reduce premiums by approximately 18 percent.
“Today we really moved forward on continuing to resolve the health care insurance program,” said Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin. “We were able to pass a bill that’s going to put back a reinsurance program through what was our MCHA program that will help us stabilize the price on health insurance and start bringing us back to some real sanity here.
“Before the Affordable Care Act, we had a system in Minnesota that would help protect our folks and, particularly, the most vulnerable with long-term, chronic illnesses and so we’ve made a great step forward and we’re going to continue working on this. It’s a long-term project to get our health insurance system back to where it belongs.”
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.