Premium relief deal on way to Dayton

Published 9:40 am Friday, January 27, 2017

Financial help for Minnesota residents paying massive health insurance premium hikes has cleared the Minnesota Legislature.

The Minnesota Senate approved a bill Thursday using $325 million in state funds to cut monthly premiums by 25 percent. The House passed it 108-19 later Thursday, and Gov. Mark Dayton has indicated he’ll sign it.

Peggy Bennett

Peggy Bennett

The state support is only available to shoppers who buy coverage on their own and don’t get federal subsidies. Those consumers are paying between 50 percent to 67 percent more in premiums this year.

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“This bill provides badly needed relief, but also has key reforms in it that will increase competition and choice, and preserve access for those receiving life-saving care,” said Rep. Peggy Bennett, R-Albert Lea. “Obviously, this is just a first step. We’ve got lots of 

work to do in the area of health insurance and health care, but I’m pleased we were able to get this done in the first month of session.”

State officials estimate 125,000 residents will start getting the relief in April.

Many Democrats objected to an included measure that allows for-profits to start selling coverage in Minnesota.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.