St. Paul, MN – While Republican lawmakers in Washington battle over health care, GOP legislators here at home tackle rising health care costs.
With the state facing some of the biggest healthcare increases in the nation, Minnesota legislators are seeking relief with an insurance pool for healthcare insurance providers. On Monday, the House passed the Minnesota Premium Security Plan Act on a 73-58 vote.
Approximately 2 percent of high-risk patients run up over 40 percent of the individual market’s medical bills. This increases insurance premiums in the individual market across the board. Under the proposed legislation, insurance providers would be able to share some of costliest claims with the state.
Under the plan, insurance companies with a claim exceeding $50,000 would be eligible for over 50% reimbursement, up to $250,000 in claims. The reimbursement would be controlled by the Legislature-created nonprofit Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association.
One of the bill’s authors, Rep. Greg Davids (R-Preston), believes this cost-sharing plan could bring individual insurance premiums down 17-18 percent.
Nonpartisan fiscal staff estimate the plan will cost $384 million over the next two years.
Democrats object the solution presented by the GOP, saying it is too costly and doesn’t guarantee premiums will come down. Instead of a reinsurance plan, Democrats favor a plan similar to one introduced by Gov. Mark Dayton (D) earlier in the year.
Dayton’s plan involves creating a public healthcare option by opening up MinnesotaCare to all Minnesotans, not just those in lower income brackets. Some Republicans were concerned for healthcare providers under the Governor’s proposals since MinnesotaCare’s reimbursement rate is lower than insurance companies offer.
Even though Dayton’s proposal failed to gain enough support, some Democrats are still clinging to the idea.
“That’s a long term solution that will give people a good option to get more affordable quality health care,” Rep. Clark Johnson (D-North Mankato) said.
Lawmakers are in a rush to get the reimbursement bill to the Governor’s desk. Some speculated having a bill ready for Dayton by the end of the week. The deadline is April 1st to make sure the provision is in place before insurance companies start setting premium rates for 2018.