Panel on MNsure to hold first meeting

Published 8:48 am Monday, July 22, 2013

ST. PAUL — A legislative committee that will oversee the development of Minnesota’s new health insurance exchange holds its first meeting today.

Minnesota is one of 17 states setting up its own exchange under the federal Affordable Care Act. Democratic legislative leaders fast-tracked the legislation to establish the exchange, and Gov. Mark Dayton signed it in March.

About 1.3 million Minnesotans are expected to get coverage through the online marketplace, known as MNsure, including 300,000 who currently don’t have health insurance. Open enrollment begins Oct. 1 for coverage that takes effect Jan. 1.

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Members of the MNsure Oversight Committee will get an overview of where things stand, including budget and technology issues, consumer outreach plans and progress toward approving plans submitted by nine insurance carriers for offering policies on the exchange.

About Minnesota’s exchange

The exchanges are a centerpiece of implementing President Barack Obama’s federal health care changes. States had the option of creating their own exchanges or letting the federal government do it.

In Minnesota, Democratic lawmakers opted to make it a homegrown project and crafted the complex bill through dozens of committee hearings and many hours of testimony. They had been working to meet an end-of-March federal deadline for creating state exchanges, ahead of a hoped-for start of enrollment in October.

Initial estimates put the yearly cost of operation at $60 million. The legislation covers that with a tax on premiums sold through the exchange of 1.5 percent in 2014, and up to 3.5 percent in 2015 and after.