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Gov. Dayton Signs Health Exchange Bill

Posted at: 03/20/2013 11:17 AM
Updated at: 03/20/2013 11:29 AM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesotans will be able to buy health insurance online through a state-based marketplace called MNsure, starting in 2014.

Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill Wednesday creating that health insurance exchange. Dayton says it's a major step in making health care better and more affordable.
 
It's a key part of implementing President Barack Obama's federal health care law. About 1.3 million Minnesotans are expected to get coverage through MNsure, including 300,000 who currently don't have health insurance.
 
House lawmakers passed the legislation last week, with all but one Democrat supporting it and Republicans opposed. The Senate passed the bill Monday on a straight party-line vote.
 
The marketplace will be run by a seven-member board, including Health and Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. Dayton has until April 30 to appoint the others.
 
A full release from the governor is below:

ST. PAUL, MN – An estimated 1.3 million Minnesotans will benefit from legislation signed into law today by Governor Mark Dayton, including nearly 300,000 Minnesotans who are currently uninsured. The bill (HF5/SF1) – which establishes a new marketplace where Minnesotans can choose quality, affordable health coverage – will save Minnesota families and businesses an estimated $1 billion in health care costs by 2016. After federal tax credits, individual consumers will see an average 34 percent decrease in premiums for insurance purchased through MNsure – Minnesota’s new federally mandated health insurance exchange. The average family will save $500 annually.

“This is a great day for the people of Minnesota,” said Governor Dayton. “Today we are taking a major step forward to improve the quality and affordability of health care for the people of Minnesota.” Governor Dayton thanked members of the state legislature and Minnesota’s federal partners – Senators Klobuchar and Franken, and others of Minnesota’s congressional delegation – for their hard work and commitment to delivering this cost-saving reform for the people and small businesses of Minnesota.

When the Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress in 2010, states like Minnesota were given the choice to build their own state-based health insurance exchanges; or opt instead to have a one-size-fits-all federal solution imposed on them. Minnesota chose to build its own exchange. Governor Dayton and the state legislature worked together to establish a health insurance marketplace tailored to the unique needs and characteristics of Minnesota’s families, economy, and nation-leading health care system.

“This legislation is the result of a lot of hard work from people that truly want to offer better health care options in Minnesota,” said state Sen. Tony Lourey (DFL – Kerrick), who authored the bill in the Senate. “I think MNsure will be a great benefit to the people of Minnesota. Individual consumers, families, small businesses, and the health care industry will all benefit from MNsure. This is a great day for health care in Minnesota.”

Ultimately, one in five Minnesotans will use MNsure to access health coverage – and the subsidies and tax credits that come with it. This new, consumer-focused marketplace will require insurance companies to compete for your business, presenting consumers with clear and simple choices about coverage. It will empower middle-class families, small businesses, and low-income Minnesotans to choose the quality health coverage they need at a price they can afford.

“This is a Minnesota-made online marketplace: capitalism at its best,” said Rep. Joe Atkins (DFL – Inver Grove Heights), who authored the bill in the House. “This is the most significant health care reform in the last 50 years. Individuals, families and small businesses will be able to get quality, affordable health coverage that saves them money and fits their budget. This is real, positive progress for the people of Minnesota.”

MNsure will offer an easy-to-use website where Minnesotans can search for and compare health plans based on cost, quality, and consumer satisfaction. It will also provide a toll-free hotline and in-person assistance where Minnesotans can get help with questions and choose the coverage that best fits their needs. Financial assistance for middle-class families and small businesses will be available for those who purchase coverage through MNsure, making health insurance more affordable for over 1 million Minnesotans.

1.3 million Minnesotans to benefit
One-in-five Minnesotans are expected to use MNsure to access affordable health coverage, including individuals, families, and low-income Minnesotans. An estimated 300,000 previously uninsured Minnesotans will gain coverage through MNsure by 2016 – a 60 percent decrease. MNsure will also modernize enrollment in public programs, helping 700,000 Minnesotans more easily enroll in Medical Assistance. MNsure will also help small businesses provide affordable health choices for their employees. By using MNsure, an estimated 155,000 small business employees will be able to access more affordable coverage – allowing small businesses to save money while attracting and retaining skilled workers.

More information about MNsure
Minnesotans can begin reviewing their insurance options through MNsure when open enrollment begins on October 1, 2013. Coverage purchased through MNsure will begin on January 1, 2014. Until then, the State of Minnesota has developed a public information website, tailored for consumers and small employers, to learn more about MNsure and how it will impact your family and business.