Minn. HMO Might Limit Bank Account On Public Health Care

Updated: 03/09/2012 2:10 PM KSTP.com By: Jay Kolls

Four of Minnesota's largest HMOs have already agreed to cap their profits this year.

Now, the head of HealthPartners appears to be thinking about limiting the company's bank account that already has an estimated 386-million dollars in reserves. That bank account is money---largely---from running the state's public health programs.

HealthPartners CEO, Mary Brainerd, told members of HealthPartners that the Bloomington-based non-profit would consider capping its reserves to cover one to three months of operating expenses only. If that holds true, it could mean savings for taxpayers into the tens of millions of dollars. Health care advocates told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that this is the first time any of the four HMOs that run the programs has mentioned capping their reserves which, collectively, stand at roughly 2.5-billion dollars.

Take Action Minnesota told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that this is a step in the right direction, but a lot of groundwork still needs to be done, before it becomes reality. 

Last month, the four HMOs---HealthPartners, Blue/Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, Medica and U-Care---agreed to cap their profits at one-percent.

Governor Mark Dayton has discussed this agreement with the HMOs as a way to provide lower health care costs and help balance the state's 5-billion dollar budget deficit.