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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Sondra Erickson (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Sondra Erickson

Friday, January 27, 2017

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Thank you to all who attended last Sunday's March for Life. I appreciated so many families driving to the Capitol to attend on a Sunday afternoon when family time is so valued and so very precious. You are a blessing to me and others in the Legislature, and it is amazing to have you as a support group.
I am also very pleased to announce that MNsure relief has passed the legislature, and been signed into law by Governor Dayton. Below is a more detailed overview of what was included in Senate File 1 (SF1), the first MNsure bill to become law this legislative session.
Premium Relief, Continuity of Care
Senate File 1 addresses the most pressing need of premium relief for Minnesotans. There was just over $311 million appropriated in Senate File 1 exclusively for this purposes. This will result in a 25% rebate on insurance premium billing statements for individuals and families purchasing their plans through the MNsure exchange, and the individual market as well.
Another $15 million is designated to address continuity of care issues for the critically ill, and those needing end-of-life care. This funding will provide 120 days of continued care in situations where patients have lost the coverage to see their existing doctor in-network. This bill also requires insurance providers to cover enrollees for their remaining days, if their life expectancy is 180 days or less.
Reform Measures
Alongside the relief mentioned above, our Republican caucus was committed to passing preliminary reforms to ensure that we do not face a similar situation in 2018. Several important steps were taken in Senate File 1 to address dysfunction in the MNsure exchange.
One of the most basic reforms included in Senate File 1 is requiring the Department of Commerce to make premium rate changes public within 10 days of when they are filed. Had this law been in place in 2016, the Legislature would have had enough time to pass measures to mitigate the situation we now find ourselves in with skyrocketing premiums, and Minnesotans would not have been blindsided by these increases.
In addition, for-profit insurance providers will now be able to sell health plans in Minnesota. This will increase competition in our insurance market place, and ideally provide people with more affordable options for coverage.
Senate File 1 also puts an end to surprise billing by health care providers. In other words, and individual receiving care cannot be billed for additional costs if an in-network surgical center or hospital contracts with an out-of-network provider without notifying the patient prior to them receiving care.
These reforms, and several others, were passed in Senate File 1, comprising a first step toward a more comprehensive reconstruction of our insurance marketplace.
Senate File 1 passed the House bipartisanly with a vote of 108-19, and has been signed by Governor Dayton. Minnesotans will soon be receiving the relief they have been waiting so long for.
Please contact my office with any questions or concerns you may have as we continue on with the MNsure debate, and others. I look forward to hearing from you this session!
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