A bill was passed on Friday that allowed the state to create its own online marketplace.
The Minnesota House has now passed a bill that would create an online health insurance exchange that is designed to help the 1.3 million uninsured residents of the state to purchase coverage in order to comply with the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act.
This is a central element of the federal healthcare law and the passing of this bill is a meaningful step in the state.
The bill must still make its way through the Senate before the state’s health insurance marketplace will head to Governor Mark Dayton, who has stated that he is prepared to add his signature to it. This bill would create a new state office, which seven appointed individuals will oversee. Those people will receive their appointments from the governor and will be responsible for the management of a website where health insurers will be able to offer plans that meet the state’s minimum coverage standards.
The health insurance marketplace bill was passed by a vote of 72 to 61.
The majority of those in support of the bill were Democrats and most of those in opposition to it were Republicans. There are a number of Democrats who also voted alongside the Republicans in this matter. This trend was the result of an earlier absence of a provision in the House that would have stopped plans that are sold through the health insurance marketplace when they cover abortions.
The Democratic lawmakers in Minnesota had already decided to create a state run health insurance exchange and have since been working on how that will actually be made into a reality. The bill that was created in the state is highly complex and took several weeks and dozens of committee hearings – in which there were several hours of testimony. The goal is to be able to meet the federal deadline for the end of March, at which time the state exchange will need to be created so that they will be up, running, and ready for the beginning of enrollment which will occur in October 2013.