Health Exchange Bill Passes House, Rep. McNamar Votes In Favor 05 Mar 13

ST. PAUL, MN– The Minnesota House of Representatives today passed a bill that will create a state health insurance exchange where Minnesotans can compare and purchase health insurance coverage. Rep. Jay McNamar (DFL – Elbow Lake) voted in favor of creating the exchange, which will serve approximately 1.2 million people in the state.

“This bill is smart for our state because it will help Minnesota families save money on something everyone needs,” said Rep. McNamar. “Families need medical insurance. And when they aren’t covered, the cost for their medical care and emergency room visits falls on the tax payers. This helps reduce those costs greatly by helping Minnesotans get preventative care that will drive overall health care costs down.”

Minnesota families are expected to save over $1 billion by using the exchange to purchase insurance, with the average family saving $500 and a lower-income family saving approximately $1800.

The exchange will also help small businesses provide affordable health care choices to their employees. Small businesses currently pay on average 18 percent more than large businesses and the exchange will help them save up to 7.5 percent off premium costs.

“This is a solution that makes sense for everyone,” said Rep. McNamar. “And if we don’t create an exchange ourselves, we will be stuck using a one size fits all exchange created by the federal government. Now we can make changes and control our own product.”

Minnesota has had two years to pass a bill creating a health insurance exchange, but failed to do so until under new leadership this session. It will be funded through self-sustaining charges on plan premiums and is unlikely to require any General Fund dollars.