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Legislature Takes Break for Easter and Passover Holidays

The Minnesota Legislature is on its Easter/Passover break until 8:30 a.m., Tuesday, April 6. When the Legislature reconvenes, it will have just six weeks before the scheduled May 17th adjournment date. The biggest pending issue when legislators reconvene will be finalizing a two-year biennial budget for the biennium beginning July 1.

 The 3rd Committee deadline by which finance committees must report out their finance bills is Friday April 9th, so it will be a busy week when legislators return.

 House Commerce Committee Looks at Reinsurance and Geographic Rating

 The House Commerce Finance and P

olicy Committee on Wednesday considered several bills of interest to NAIFA members including:

 SF694 (Stephenson, DFL-Coon Rapids) reauthorizes Minnesota’s reinsurance program through 2022. The program helps reduce premiums for 150,000 consumers buying individual health insurance policies. The bill was supported by the NAIFA and other insurance associations, the Chamber of Commerce, the Minnesota Council of Health Plans and numerous disease advocacy organizations. It was opposed by various advocacy and labor unions. Committee Chair Stephenson amended the bill to direct the Commissioner of Commerce to convene a commission to study ways​ to increase stability, reduce costs, and increase equity for Minnesotans in the individual and​ small group health insurance markets.​ The bill was also amended to create an Office of Mental Health Parity and Substance Abuse Accountability in the Department of Commerce to assure that MI/CD parity is implement

ed by health plans regulated by Commerce. The bill was also amended to allow different attachment points for plans based on their NCQA rating. An amendment expanding the MCHA Board to 19 members, a majority of members of which are to be appointees of the Governor, was also adopted. The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the omnibus commerce finance bill.

  • HF2036 (Haley, R-Red Wing) directs the Commissioner of Commerce to study disparities between Minnesota's nine geographic rating areas in individual and small
    group market health insurance rates. It also directs the Commissioner to recommend ways to reduce or eliminate rate disparities between the geographic rating areas and provide stability for the individual and small group health insurance markets in Minnesota. A farm couple from Goodhue testified about the very high health insurance premiums they pay because of their location. They told of a friend who could save $10,000 a year on health insurance if he moved across the street into a different rating area. The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the omnibus commerce finance bill.

Mandate Review Bill Advances

The Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy Committee on Monday heard and approved legislation to provide legislators more information before considering a health benefit mandate. S.F. 146 (Benson, R-Ham Lake) provides that legislators seeking to introduce a benefit mandate must notify the Chair of the relevant Committee. They must also notify the Commissioner of Commerce so that an evaluation of the proposed benefit can be conducted. The bill was supported by the Chamber of Commerce, Minnesota Association of Health Underwriters and the Council of Health Plans. The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the omnibus commerce finance bill.