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Finally, a fair and affordable health care system
Written by State Representative Diane Loeffler
Posted  10/2/2013
Affordable, quality health insurance will finally be available for many without it and to small businesses that want to help their employees. Finally, all will be able to get fair pricing on good policies that cover lifesaving prevention without co-pays, don’t have lifetime limits, don’t penalize persons with pre-existing health problems, and that limit cost sharing so less people face bankruptcy when major health issues arise. Limiting expenditures for administration, advertising and other non-medical care costs will help to control insurance costs for all.

MNsure is our state’s health exchange where those without work-based insurance and small businesses can compare and choose health insurance that meets their needs. Through MNsure, most uninsured persons and many small businesses can earn federal help in making the premiums even more affordable. Some very low income people will find free coverage. It will help our small businesses attract and retain good workers.

Minnesota continues to be a leader in health reform. MNsure has the lowest rates in the nation and they are much lower than our surrounding states. That will help Minnesota’s economy keep outpacing the nation in job growth. Savings of $70 to $160 a month can make a big difference.

It wasn’t fair that only large corporations could get affordable group rates. Small businesses will get competitive rates, might earn federal help, and should be able to have their employees pay their premiums with pre-tax earnings (a savings of 20-40 percent). No longer will they be punished because one or two employees have major health issues. No more long forms disclosing health history. If you work for a small business, encourage them to check out this out—they may be surprised to learn how the market has changed.

I’m pleased to have contributed to this as an active co-author of the bill that guided federal health care reform/Obamacare in Minnesota. By doing the hard work of creating our own exchange (MNsure) we are saving families and businesses millions of dollars.

Health insurance can be confusing but help is available. The MNsure call center is open six days a week at 1-855-366-7873. The website is MNsure.org Certified trained navigators and insurance brokers will be able to help locally. State Senator Kari Dziedzic and I are working with others to schedule a town meeting on this

Using these services you can find out if you qualify for sliding fee subsidies and choose a policy that fits your needs and covers the doctors and hospital you prefer. Coverage for most will start Jan. 1 so you have time to consider your options.

MNsure will also modernize the systems for Medical Assistance (coverage for persons with disabilities or very low incomes) and MinnesotaCare (our nation-leading program for working people). They now run on computer systems so old it is hard to find programmers to do updates. This will make government services more efficient while easing the demands on persons struggling with major health issues that prevent work.

I’m on the MNsure Oversight Commission. I would like to hear from local residents and businesses about their experiences with MNsure (plus and minus) so I can better understand how it’s working. Continuous improvement is our goal. I can be reached at rep.diane.loeffler@house.mn or 651-296-4219.

I believe that good public policy can improve the opportunities available for ordinary working people. MNsure can’t address all the problems that confront our costly health care system but it will help many people who are now uninsured and offer better options for many now paying a lot for poor coverage.

Diane Loeffler
State Representative
Northeast Minneapolis

Northeaster Opinion