Senate Republicans plan to continue affordable reinsurance program

The commitment comes after the reinsurance program has delivered on its promise of improving access and affordability for health care consumers.

(St. Paul, MN) – Today, Senate Republicans announced legislation to extend Minnesota’s successful reinsurance program for another year. Extending the program ensures insurance rates in the individual market will remain stable, and without any additional cost to the taxpayers. 

The original $542 million for operations was offset by federal funding and the federal dollars will continue through 2022 with this extension. Reinsurance has been proven so effective it is being implemented in several other states across the nation.  

“We saw how destabilized the health insurance market could be back in 2016. Many counties had zero or only one provider on the individual market and premiums went up almost fifty-percent,” said Senator Gary Dahms (R-Redwood Falls). “Our successful reinsurance program stabilized the market, brought in choice for consumers, and has made insurance more affordable for small businesses and families.”   

Watch Senator Dahms talk about Reinsurance 

In 2016 insurance premiums for the individual market increased by double digits, as high as 49%, due to changes from the Affordable Care Act. Furthermore, many counties only had one insurance company to choose from. Minnesota continues to enjoy some of the lowest rates in the country, every county has at least two providers, and a new provider has started offering plans in the state. 

Governor Walz in his proposed budget did not include reauthorizing the state’s successful reinsurance program. The state risks destabilizing the individual health insurance market, drastic increases in premium costs, and could lose approximately $90 million in federal money if the program expires. 

“Minnesotans cannot afford defunding our health care market,” said Senator Michelle Benson (R-Ham Lake). “Controlling health care costs is one of Minnesotans’ main priorities and we successfully delivered back in 2017. We are committed to keeping Minnesota’s insurance market stable during the pandemic and in the years ahead. It is time we renew this successful program again.”  

The bill will be heard in the Senate Commerce Committee on Monday and, if passed, in the Senate Health & Human Services Committee on Wednesday.