Despite what you may have heard, MNsure — Minnesota’s state-based health insurance exchange — isn’t the problem. Rather, an expensive individual market and underlying cost drivers — some attributable to federal healthcare reform — have created a crisis for many Minnesotans.
In anticipation of the crisis, Senator Schmit hosted a pair of healthcare summits in Goodhue County during the fall of 2015. State health officials, area providers, insurance representatives, and local residents had a chance to express concerns and hear various perspectives on issues related to cost, competition, and choice. The conversation wasn’t always easy, but the dialogue resulted in a package of legislation Senator Schmit introduced early in the 2016 legislative session to provide short-term premium relief and long-term cost containment and choice. Senator Schmit’s been focused on this issue and has the right prescription:
- Supplemental tax credits to make 2017 monthly premiums more affordable for individual market enrollees not qualifying for federal tax credits.
- Public option to buy into state health plans. Expanded eligibility to allow individuals and families to buy into state plans currently available to working Minnesotans and state employees.
- Market stabilization and reinsurance. Adopt a model similar to that undertaken in Alaska that provides premium stability through better risk management.
- Redrawn geographic rating area lines. Seek a federal waiver to redraw the lines separating Minnesota’s expensive Southeastern and competitive metro markets.
Several of these ideas were supported by the senate during the 2016 legislative session, but they did not win favor with the house during conference committee negotiations.