A massive bill has just been passed in the Senate, which represents the completion of a vital phase.
A major overhaul to the health insurance system in Minnesota has just passed the Senate, which will mean that in a few months, the over 300,000 residents of the state that are uninsured will be able to benefit from an online marketplace that is one of the central elements of the federal healthcare law.
This is a vitally important legislative step toward the implementation of the online exchange.
The Senate gave its approval to the new bill for the health insurance exchange, at a vote of 39 to 28, which occurred along party lines. This bill was then sent along to Governor Mark Dayton, who had previously promised to sign it. For months, Dayton’s administration had already been working on establishing this project and had begun the efforts toward hiring the required employees so that the venture will be well established by the first enrollment date on October 1.
The health insurance marketplace will allow individuals and small business owners to purchase plans.
According to the early estimates from Minnesota, by the year 2016, there will be 1.3 million people in the state who are purchasing their health insurance coverage through the exchange. Beyond the 300,000 people in the state who are currently uninsured and who will be provided with federal subsidies to assist in covering the cost of their plans, there will be another estimated million people who will either be transferring to the exchange from their current plans, or their employers will do so.
According to Senator Barb Goodwin (DFL-Columbia Heights), “We finally get a plan that will hopefully give health insurance access to a lot of Minnesotans at a better price.”
Republicans have expressed that they are concerned about the cost that could result from the new health insurance marketplaces. For instance, the operation of the exchange itself will cost approximately $60 million per year, which will be covered by a 3.5 percent premium tax that will be applied to the plans that are sold over the online marketplace. Critics say that this could increase pressure on the insurers to boost their premiums statewide. Some insurers are also worried about the amount of time that they have to prepare for these changes.