Last Thursday, January 26, the Minnesota Legislature overwhelmingly approved the Health Care Emergency Aid and Access Plan. Passing with bipartisan support, the plan introduces the first reforms to the Minnesota health insurance marketplace and provides partial temporary relief to some who have individual health insurance or who were forced into a 2017 plan that doesn’t cover their doctor or hospital. It compassionately extends coverage with their current providers for those with treatment in-progress and those nearing end of life.
The Plan includes key Republican-led reforms that are intended to
preserve care for those receiving life-saving treatments and
increase consumer choice moving forward.
“This is a first step in a session-long effort to address the problems created by Obamacare and MNsure,” said Susan Closmore, Director of Public Affairs, House Republican Caucus.
The bill contains measures intended to expand insurance access. These include: allowing employers to make pre-tax contributions that employees may use to pay for insurance, allowing for-profit HMO’s to sell plans in MN, and allowing agricultural cooperatives to offer group plans to farmers & their families.
The 25% premium relief is welcome news for those who are paying full-price for their individual policies. The new state subsidies are available to those who bought plans directly from insurers or from MNsure (and are not getting federal subsidy). However, the premium rebates portion of the new law excludes anyone who already gets a federal subsidy for a MNsure plan, or who is getting state Medicaid assistance or who is getting insurance through their employer or Medicare.
The law puts the administrative burden and interim financing costs on the insurance companies. Insurers are required to change their 2017 premium billing to reflect the 25% discounts for eligible individuals, retroactive to January 1, then file for reimbursement from the state for those funds. It’s expected that the revised rates/rebates will be reflected in invoices sent in April. Insurers and doctors must also fund new continuity-of-care costs and seek state reimbursement. Continuity-of-care for 120 days (4 months) with their same doctor/hospital will be offered for pregnant women beyond their first trimester, and those already being treated for medical conditions.
Pioneer Press reporter David Montgomery summarized key information in his January 27th article. CLICK HERE to read.
And you can read more details about the law in Susan Closmore’s article here on the SD49 Website CLICK HERE