Election Day

by Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.

Greetings to all with only four days left until the election!

Our esteemed leader, John Knapp, posted yesterday on our Legi Blog an election preview-please be sure to read it. Also, please be sure to check back with us in the days following the election for our election recap. And, our Legi Group’s election prediction contest results (I am hoping to achieve a “worst to first” turn-around from my last place finish two years ago).

Now on to our insurance regulatory/exchange update.

Health Insurance Exchange Update

Since the Governor’s recent transfer of the Exchange’s administration and oversight from the Minnesota Department of Commerce to Minnesota Management and Budget, the Governor seems to be holding true to his word that no decisions of any significance will be made until after the elections. As many have observed, this is going to leave the State with precious little time before the November 16th deadline imposed by federal law requiring that it submit to the federal government an initial plan regarding how the Minnesota exchange will work. By January 1, 2013, the federal government will give a thumbs up or down regarding each submitted state’s proposed plan for implementation. We understand that the federal government will be using a very generous review process when determining whether any given state’s plan is acceptable or sufficiently developed.

Here in Minnesota, various public meetings have been taking place in an attempt to provide all interested parties, as well as the federal government, with greater detail regarding how Minnesota’s exchange will (or hopes to) operate. For example, last week, the Exchange’s Advisory Task Force met to discuss a funding options report from the Exchange’s Finance Work Group and recommendations on the Consumer Assistance/Navigator Program from the Navigator and Agent/Broker Work Group. No concrete decisions have been made on these or other important topics.

With so many of these open items remaining, one of the most active and vocal groups has been the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. Recently, the Chamber’s Health Policy Committee published its draft policies, which will be presented to the Chamber Board later this month. As it relates to the Exchange, the Health Policy Committee’s draft policy contained a number of key elements, which will certainly be front and center as this debate moves forward in the coming months:

  1. The Legislature, not the Executive Branch, should ultimately establish and oversee the Exchange;
  2. The Legislature should pass Legislation creating the Exchange by April 2013 with an active Exchange by January 1, 2014, (or run the risk that the federal government will impose a one-size-fits-all exchange);
  3. The Exchange should ensure a functioning, private marketplace that provides businesses and their employees with a number of choices, including affordable options;
  4. The Exchange must be a free marketplace-facilitator model (state sets the standards and allows all plans and providers to participate) rather than an active purchaser model (states contract with the payers to provide coverages and only allows certain types of plans);
  5. The Exchange should be formed as a private, non-profit corporation outside of any state agency (like MCHA) with the majority of the Board being represented by business;
  6. The Exchange must be financially self-sustaining;
  7. The Exchange must maximize consumer choice;
  8. The Exchange cannot come at the expense of a robust, private market;
  9. Benchmarks must be established to evaluate the success of the Exchange and there must be accountability; and
  10. All benchmark data must be made publically available.

Think that the MMB, the Governor and the Legislature (whoever that may be) have some work to do before April?? Now bring on the election!!!!!


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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