AARP State Director Michele Kimball offered the following statement regarding the introduction of a bipartisan bill to create a health care purchasing exchange
“With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Minnesota has a new opportunity to extend health coverage to Minnesotans who have found obtaining health insurance too difficult, too challenging, or too expensive. Many of our members aged 50-64 have struggled for years to find affordable coverage in the individual and small markets.
“AARP applauds the 2013 State Legislative leaders -- including Sen. Tony Lourey and Rep. Joe Atkins -- for making the implementation of the Health Care Exchange a top priority for this session. This bipartisan proposal introduced today is a very good start towards the enactment of a common-sense, consumer-friendly exchange. The Health Care Exchange has the ability to help promote quality insurance products and help consumers compare and purchase health care. AARP has a strong interest in working with state lawmakers to see that the Exchange puts Minnesota consumers’ interests first.
“AARP is fighting on issues that matter to Minnesotans and their families – including access to affordable, quality health care.”
AARP’s Exchange Priorities
The exchange should have the authority to negotiate on behalf of consumers: Consumers and small business owners will be best served by an exchange that is strong enough to foster active negotiation with health plans that want to sell policies in the exchange.
Governing bodies should include strong consumer protection: To avoid conflicts of interest and best meet the needs of consumers, the governing board should not include insurers or health care providers who would be subject to regulation and oversight by the Exchange.
Broad range of outreach and education options: In addition to its online presence, the Exchange should establish telephone and in-person opportunities to help consumers gather information and enroll in a heal plan.
What the Exchange Means for Minnesota
- Will serve 1.2 million Minnesotans – about 20% of the state
- Minnesota families will save over $1 billion and state government could save hundreds of millions of dollars more.
- Will cover approximately 300,000 uninsured Minnesotans in the first two years.
- The average Minnesota family, who purchase their own health care, will save $500 in health care costs with low income families saving roughly $1,800.
- Nearly 200,000 small business employees will access coverage through the exchange.
[Source: MN Department of Commerce]