Supporting Successful Health Care Reform in Minnesota

During the 2013 Legislative Session, the Minnesota Budget Project advocated for successful health care reform legislation to:

  • Preserve and improve MinnesotaCare by creating a Minnesota-based solution for providing working families access to insurance that is affordable and comprehensive.
  • Cover nearly all non-elderly Minnesotans with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line by expanding eligibility for Medicaid. 
  • Create a consumer-friendly health insurance Exchange that could effectively negotiate on behalf of Minnesotans and create opportunities for future reform efforts. 

Issue Overview

In 2013, one out of 10 Minnesotans under age 65 were trying to get by without health insurance. And many others had inadequate insurance, relying on catastrophic health care plans that come with high deductibles and offer little in the way of preventive care. The recent recession and the slow economic recovery only added to the problem – high levels of unemployment caused many to lose access to affordable coverage through their employers. The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 laid out a path to reform the nation’s health care system, reducing the number of uninsured and improving the options available to Minnesotans.

Some elements of the ACA took effect before January 1, 2014: children can no longer be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition, most young adults can stay on their parents’ health plan until age 26, insurance plans can no longer place lifetime dollar limits on health care coverage, and preventive services must be provided with no out-of-pocket costs.

However, there were critical steps that policymakers needed to take during 2013 to make sure Minnesota was ready to successfully implement the ACA.

Status

The 2013 Legislature acted on all three of our top priorities: preserving and improving MinnesotaCare, expanding eligibility for Medicaid, and creating a health insurance Exchange. 

In February, the Legislature passed and Governor Dayton signed House File 9, which allows 98,000 parents, young adults and adults without children to access affordable and meaningful health insurance by expanding eligibility for Medicaid beginning in 2014. The final budget took the next step by providing better access to health insurance for children and pregnant women. It removed other barriers to enrollment.

In March, the Legislature passed and Governor Dayton signed a measure creating a state health insurance Exchange, MNsure, which is an online marketplace where individuals and small employers can shop for, compare and purchase health insurance coverage.

In May, as part of the final budget, policymakers acted to preserve MinnesotaCare for most participants, taking advantage of federal funding to continue health insurance coverage for parents, young adults and adults without children with incomes between 138 percent and 200 percent of the federal poverty line. They also improved MinnesotaCare by reducing premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

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With your support, we will continue to work towards a future where all Minnesotans have access to opportunity and economic well-being.

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