Bipartisan legislative effort underway to curb insurance fraud

[originally posted on February 13, 2014 by Suzy Rook, Waseca County News]

State Sen. Vicki Jensen, DFL-Owatonna, along with senators Jim Metzen, DFL-South St.Paul and Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa announced a comprehensive package of reforms that will start to address insurance fraud.

The senators were joined by Mark Kulda, Vice President of Public Affairs, for the Insurance Federation of Minnesota, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi and Minnesota law enforcement personnel.

“We’re excited to have concrete proposals ready after an interim of hard, bipartisan work,” said Jensen. “This is just the beginning, but I fully believe we will be able to pass meaningful legislation this session that will help bring relief to Minnesotans. I’m looking forward to continuing our work on curbing fraud.”

The proposed reforms will enhance fraud penalties, increase the ability for insurers and law enforcement to share key data, protect the privacy of the records of accident victims, eliminate unscrupulous billing practices that help hide fraud being committed and impose new restrictions on the use of repackaged drugs.

“These smart reforms have come after months of meetings and efforts from the working group participants,” said Metzen, the Commerce Committee chair. “Moving forward, the Commerce Committee will establish a permanent sub-committee dedicated to insurance fraud prevention as we continue to build on the work that has been started by this group. We have learned that insurance fraud costs the average Minnesota family approximately $1,000 annually. If we are successful in our efforts to fight and prevent fraud, those costs should be reflected in reduced premiums for Minnesotans.”

The legislation is the result of a bipartisan working group that met multiple times throughout the interim. Co-chaired by Jensen and Gazelka, the working group heard testimony from a number of stakeholders that provided information on insurance fraud’s effects and possible changes to state law.

Senator Vicki Jensen
Vicki Jensen represents District 24 in southeastern Minnesota. She is the vice chair of the Commerce Committee.

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