Sen. John Hoffman votes for health insurance premium relief
Senator Hoffman STATEMENT:
“Minnesotans have told us loud and clear for the past several months that they want premium relief now — and this bill gets money back into their pockets by the end of April. At the end of the day, I do agree with many of my colleagues when they say this bill isn’t perfect, and does have some areas that are cause for concern. But getting relief to Minnesotans fast was of utmost concern – and I’m happy to say this bill passed with bipartisan support today,” said Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin).
The bill passed by the Senate today is an agreement between Republicans and Democrats to invest $312 million in 25 percent across-the-board subsidies for Minnesotans who purchase their insurance on the individual market and who do not receive federal tax credits. Under the plan, the state reimburses health insurance plans, who would provide the relief to individuals.
Republicans initially wanted an income-based assistance program with the Minnesota Department of Management and Budget to cut the checks, but that would have delayed relief until 2018. After pushback from Dayton and Senate Democrats, Conferees decided the DFL plan would deliver relief faster to Minnesotans. People who purchase their health insurance through the individual market and are eligible for the subsidy, should expect to see relief on their premium bills by April or May and will receive retroactive payment for full premiums paid dating back to January 2017.
The bill also includes several health insurance market reforms. One reform troubling many DFLers remains: opening up the nonprofit-dominated individual marketplace to for-profit HMOs. This could have significant impacts for rural and smaller hospitals and medical providers. For-profit HMOs exist to make a profit for their shareholders; providing the best medical care is a secondary interest.