Reinsurance Extension Passes Through State Senate

3/14/2019
A bill to extend the state’s reinsurance program, which Republicans say is needed to stabilize the state’s individual market, passed through the Senate on March 11 on a 37-28 vote.  

SF 761, authored by Sen. Gary Dahms (R-Redwood Falls), extends the program by allowing it to continue using unspent funds in the Minnesota Premium Security Plan.

First passed in 2017, the program uses a combination of state and federal monies to help health insurers cover the costs of large medical expenses through reinsurance. The original program was scheduled to sunset in 2019. The proposed extension is for three years. 

Republicans argue that without continuation of the reinsurance program, Minnesotans purchasing coverage in the individual market will see premium increases of 25 percent or more. DFLers, including Gov. Tim Walz, argue that reinsurance is a band-aid that subsidizes insurance companies without any requirements that they provide affordable coverage and it doesn’t really address the high costs of health care. 

The House version of the bill, HF 629, authored by Rep. Laurie Halverson (DFL-Eagan) passed the House Commerce Committee and is awaiting hearing in the Health and Human Services Finance Division. It is unclear whether it will reach the House floor this year or become part of end-of-session negotiations with the House and Walz.