Minnesota’s Health Insurance Exchange

(January 2013) It has already been a very busy time at the Capitol for Small Business Minnesota. So far we have enjoyed a warm welcome from legislators, commissioners and administrators with whom we’ve met. All are eager to hear from small businesses: Minnesota’s largest employer.

Currently Small Business Minnesota is focusing on the two top concerns identified by our members in a survey last fall: affordable healthcare and tax fairness.

Affordable Healthcare: Minnesota’s Health Insurance Exchange

Under the Affordable Care Act, states were given the option to establish their own health insurance exchange programs or adopt the Federal program. The exchanges open to employers with fewer than 50 employees in 2014 and 2015 have to be approved by March 31, 2013. The exchange will be open to employers with up to 100 employees in 2016 and beyond.

Small Business Minnesota is actively supporting two provisions in the healthcare exchange bills (SF1 and HF5):

Active purchaser

States have the option of being a “passive” or an “active purchaser” of insurance policies. Being an active purchaser will give small businesses access to lower-cost health insurance at true group rates.

Using information gathered from our members, Small Business Minnesota board will begin providing testimony this week. Four Small Business Minnesota members will testify.

If you are a member and you have concerns about healthcare, please contact Audrey Britton, Small Business Minnesota government affairs chair.

Healthcare Exchange Board

A board that oversees the healthcare exchange is outlined in the bills. It calls for one member to represent small business interests. The Chamber has indicated that it will fill this slot with one of its members; Small Business Minnesota will recommend that one of our members sit on the board.

Notes: The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and insurance-provider lobbyists are at the Capitol working to defeat the active purchaser arrangement, and to promote appointment of their clients to sit on the healthcare exchange board.