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Health insurance exchange passes in House

On Monday, March 4, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed a bill that will create a state health insurance exchange where Minnesotans can compare and purchase health insurance coverage.

Representative Jay McNamar (DFL - Elbow Lake) voted in favor of creating the exchange, which will serve approximately 1.2 million people in the state.

According to McNamar, the bill will help reduce health care costs by helping Minnesotans get preventative care.

Minnesota families are expected to save more than $1 billion by using the exchange to purchase insurance, with the average family saving $500 and a lower-income family saving approximately $1,800.

The exchange will also help small businesses provide affordable health care choices to their employees. Small businesses currently pay on average 18 percent more than large businesses and the exchange will help them save up to 7.5 percent off premium costs.

"This is a solution that makes sense for everyone," said McNamar. "And if we don't create an exchange ourselves, we will be stuck using a one size fits all exchange created by the federal government.

Minnesota has had two years to pass a bill creating a health insurance exchange but failed to do so until under new leadership this session. It will be funded through self-sustaining charges on plan premiums and is unlikely to require any general fund dollars.

McNamar can be contacted at (651) 296-4929 or at rep.jay.mcnamar