After 2 years of planning, 19 committees, over 100 amendments, and countless hours of discussion, Governor Mark Dayton signed the Minnesota Insurance Marketplace Act into law on March 20, 2013. This law, which establishes a state-run health insurance exchange which will be called MNSure, establishes a consumer-friendly, Minnesota-made marketplace where individuals and small businesses can shop for and compare health insurance plans that meet their needs.
MNSure includes some important consumer protections: board members are banned from having financial conflicts of interest, the board has the power to vet the plans offered on the Exchange and choose the highest quality offerings, and the navigator program must be broad and serve the varied needs of many communities. MNSure has a fair funding mechanism; up to 3.5 % of the premium cost is withheld to pay for the Exchange, so those who benefit from the Exchange pay for it.
The board will be appointed by April 30, 2013, health plans will have until June 19 to submit products for review, enrollment opens on Oct. 1, and coverage goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2014. The timeline is short, but the Governor’s administration has been working to get the pieces in place by the time MNSure opens for business.
Thanks to our many advocacy volunteers who testified in front of task forces and committees, and wrote letters, made calls, and attended meetings, and to the bill authors, who fought to keep consumer protections in the bill, Minnesota will have one of the most consumer-friendly health insurance exchanges in the country.