Insurance Exchange Bills Headed to Floor Sessions
[MMA News Now, Feb. 28, 2013] Having spent the past seven weeks working through one committee after another in the House and Senate, legislation establishing a Minnesota-based Health Insurance Exchange will finally make its way to the floor next week.
The Senate version (SF 1), proposed by Sen. Tony Lourey (DFL-Kerrick ) has been heard in seven committees while the House version (HF 5) proposed by Rep. Joe Atkins (DFL- Inver Grove Heights) has been heard in eight.
The bills differ in a couple significant ways. The current Senate version draws financing from the Health Impact Fee, which is the 75 cent per pack tobacco tax. The House version would pay for it through a 3.5 percent premium withhold on users of the exchange.
In addition, the Senate version favors an “active purchaser” model, in which the governing body would select only certain, qualified plans, while the House version would allow for more plans to participate in the exchange, which will be launched this October.
Given the differences in the two proposals, the bills will be sent to a conference committee of House and Senate legislators. Lawmakers are working to get a final bill passed and signed by the governor before March 31 to meet the deadline posed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.