Senate Insurance Exchange Debate 07 Mar 13

The Minnesota Senate is scheduled to debate its bill on setting up a state Health Insurance Exchange today (THU). The exchange is an online marketplace for the uninsured, and others, to shop for coverage plans. It’s instrumental to the implementation of the federal health care overhaul in the next few years. Republican State Senator Gary Dahms of Redwood Falls is skeptical that having an insurance exchange will save as much money as supporters claim. Dahms says he also has issues with the makeup of the 7-person board that will oversee the Health Insurance Exchange, and the fact that the board doesn’t answer to anyone. The House passed its version of the insurance exchange bill on Monday, but there are key differences between the two versions, including how they cover operating costs for the exchange. The House bill places a tax on insurance premiums sold through the exchange, while the Senate version uses money from existing cigarettes taxes. The differences will ultimately be worked out in conference committee.