Health care exchange recommendations released


Rep. Joe Atkins (DFL-Inver Grove Heights) said he expects to introduce a bill later this week or early next week that would put Minnesota on a path to developing its own Internet-based health care marketplace for the uninsured, before a federal exchange program would take its place.

Atkins serves on the Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange Advisory Task Force, which released its list of recommendations about how the exchange should work.

Among the recommendations are:

  • keeping a level playing field between marketplaces inside and outside the exchange;
  • structuring provisions to encourage innovation and competition;
  • stimulating participation by small employers;
  • pursuing a state-level risk adjustment model; and
  • to closely follow the risk pools and premium variables.

The task force also recommends that the exchange be governed by a 15- to 20-member board with staggered and limited terms, including a mixture of appointed and elected directors.

States have until Jan. 1, 2013, to develop their own health insurance exchanges, which would be available to consumers in 2014. Otherwise, a federal exchange would be imposed.

“This is about giving people the information that they can use to make lower cost, better access, health care decisions,” Gov. Mark Dayton said during the morning news conference.

Rep. Thomas Huntley (DFL–Duluth) said states have been given the flexibility to design their own exchanges and that Minnesota’s health care system is different than the rest of the country, delivering high quality care at some of the lowest costs.

Republican legislators were offered positions on the task force but declined to participate, according to Dayton.