Skip to content

Exchange

Share this page
  • Print this page

A marketplace for affordable health insurance

A Health Insurance Exchange is a marketplace for individuals and businesses to compare, choose, and buy affordable health insurance for high quality care.  An Exchange can make health care easier to navigate for consumers and small businesses.  It can allow Minnesotans to easily compare health insurance options based on cost, quality, and consumer satisfaction.  It can also foster fair and equitable competition to encourage insurers and health care providers to place a greater focus on value and affordability.

Minnesota has launched, MNsure, which is a central marketplace where Minnesota individuals, families and small employers can get quality, affordable health insurance and access tax credits or assistance to help pay for coverage.

History

Minnesota has a long, distinguished history of health reform, often leading the nation and setting the standard to follow. Most recently, in 2008, we passed a state health reform law that improves community health, patient experience and affordability of health care.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), which became law in March 2010, called for the establishment of a federal health insurance exchange/marketplace, while giving states the option to create their own. Minnesota has chosen to take the opportunity to further advance its health care system by building a Minnesota-Made health insurance exchange/marketplace, tailoring it to the needs of our state's families, employers, and health care system.

In November 2011, Governor Mark Dayton signed Executive Order 11-30 to create a Minnesota health insurance exchange/marketplace. An Advisory Task Force and Technical Work Groups were established with broad representation to develop recommendations for how it should work.

In March 2013, Governor Dayton signed House File 5 into law, officially establishing a state-based health insurance exchange for Minnesotans. While there remain a number of issues at the legislature that MNsure staff are closely monitoring, the Governor's signature of House File 5 is the final step in forming a Minnesota-based health insurance exchange.

Visit MNsure to enroll and learn more.

What is an Exchange?

A Health Insurance Exchange is a marketplace for individuals and businesses to compare, choose, and buy affordable health insurance for high quality care. An Exchange can make health care easier to navigate for consumers and small businesses. It can allow Minnesotans to easily compare health insurance options based on cost, quality, and consumer satisfaction. It can also foster fair and equitable competition to encourage insurers and health care providers to place a greater focus on value and affordability.

An Exchange is an online marketplace where Minnesotans can purchase private health insurance or enroll in public programs like Medical Assistance and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Subsidies and tax credits will be available to eligible individuals and small businesses to make coverage more affordable.

An Exchange can help small businesses provide affordable coverage choices to their workers and allow employees to choose the plan that is best for them and their families. Employees will be able to use contributions from one or more employers to purchase coverage for them and their families and keep that coverage if they become self-employed, lose their job, or if they change jobs. An Exchange can also simplify the administration of health insurance for small businesses and allow them to focus on growing their business instead of managing health insurance.

When would an Exchange be effective?

Consumers can enroll in the Exchange starting in October 2013. Health plan coverage begins January 1, 2014.

What functions would an exchange perform?

An Exchange would perform a number of functions, including:

•    Operating a toll-free hotline and website for providing information
•    Ensuring that health insurance plans meet certain standards (for example, related to marketing, access to health care providers, and reporting on quality of care).
•    Providing information in a standard format to help consumers compare insurance companies and benefit plans
•    Determining eligibility for individual premium tax credits, cost-sharing  assistance, and coverage requirement exemptions
•    Determining eligibility for Medical Assistance
•    Determining eligibility for small business premium tax credits
•    Providing real-time enrollment in health benefit plans
•    Making an electronic calculator available to display the cost of coverage
•    Communicating with employers regarding employee tax credit eligibility, cancellation of coverage, etc.
•    Establishing a Navigator program that connects Minnesotans with an individual or organization that assists consumers and businesses to navigate an Exchange.

Who would be eligible to use an Exchange?

An Exchange would be available to be used by individual consumers and small businesses with up to 50 employees when it opens for enrollment beginning October 2013.  Large employers may be allowed to participate in 2017. It is estimated that about 1.2 million Minnesotans will purchase insurance through the exchange.

What is an Exchange?

A Health Insurance Exchange is a marketplace for individuals and businesses to compare, choose, and buy affordable health insurance for high quality care. An Exchange can make health care easier to navigate for consumers and small businesses. It can allow Minnesotans to easily compare health insurance options based on cost, quality, and consumer satisfaction. It can also foster fair and equitable competition to encourage insurers and health care providers to place a greater focus on value and affordability.

An Exchange is an online marketplace where Minnesotans can purchase private health insurance or enroll in public programs like Medical Assistance and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Subsidies and tax credits will be available to eligible individuals and small businesses to make coverage more affordable.

When would an Exchange be effective?

Consumers can enroll in the Exchange starting in October 2013. Health plan coverage begins January 1, 2014.

What functions would an exchange perform?

An Exchange would perform a number of functions, including:





Medical Assistance




Navigator
Who would be eligible to use an Exchange?

An Exchange would be available to be used by individual consumers and small businesses with up to 50 employees when it opens for enrollment beginning October 2013.  Large employers may be allowed to participate in 2017. It is estimated that about 1.2 million Minnesotans will purchase insurance through the exchange.

Can I enroll in an Exchange before January 1, 2014 so that my coverage can start right away at the beginning of the year?

Yes.  Open enrollment would begin in October 2013.

Where is Minnesota in the process to plan for a Health Insurance Exchange?

The state is working with all stakeholders to plan and develop a Minnesota exchange.  Minnesota received a $1 million planning grant in February 2011. This grant funded actuarial and economic research on the market impact of an Exchange, the development of an IT Infrastructure, Request for Proposals for prototypes to evaluate technical options and costs for an Exchange, and initial work to assess the operations of an Exchange.

Minnesota received a $4.2 million grant in August 2011 to support the design and development of a Minnesota Exchange. The grant funds the creation of an initial structure with human and other resources to support the design and development of an Exchange, development of technical infrastructure, and stakeholder engagement to help craft the design of an Exchange through an Advisory Task Force and other public forums.

In February 2012, Minnesota received a $23 million grant to continue the design and development of a Minnesota-made health insurance exchange. The grant provides the resources for the development of the technical infrastructure of the exchange, and for continued planning of program integration, operations and outreach.

In September 2012, Minnesota received a $42.5 million grant to sustain the development of a state-run exchange. The grant will be used for developing a broker/navigator program, designing a customer service program, the purchase and maintenance of IT system infrastructure, and staffing for development and IT for the exchange.

What is the Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange Advisory Task Force?

The task force assists in the design and development of a Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange. Task force members are appointed to serve for two years. The Advisory Task Force web page contains a list of members, upcoming meetings and meeting materials.

What will the Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange Advisory Task Force do?

The task force will provide guidance and recommendations on a number of policy, technical, and operational issues, including, but not limited to:

•    Size of the small group market
•    Merger of the individual and small group markets
•    Provisions to avoid adverse selection
•    Risk adjustment
•    Cost, quality, and satisfaction rating for health insurers and health benefit plans
•    Navigator/broker provisions
•    Technical infrastructure
•    Exchange operations
•    Long-term governance
•    Ongoing funding mechanisms

What is the status of Minnesota’s Request for Proposals (RFP) for Exchange Technical Infrastructure Prototypes?

In July 2012, Minnesota entered into a $41 million dollar contract with MAXIMUS, Inc. to design and develop the technical capabilities, including a consumer friendly website. The contract covers the development of technology for the following functions: individual eligibility determination and enrollment; small employer eligibility and enrollment; certification and display of health benefit plan options and costs; navigator and agent/broker listing; display of health care provider information; premium aggregation and payment; and account administration.

The contract also includes major technology improvements to Minnesota's Medicaid systems to provide streamlined eligibility determinations, enhance customer service, allow for timely eligibility changes, and promote ongoing program integrity. In addition, the new technology system will allow the Department of Health to provide information on provider quality. Finally, the technology will allow the Commerce and Health Departments to fulfill their roles as the certifier of Qualified Health Plans.

What is the State doing to streamline technology systems for all health and human services, including an Exchange?

In August 2011, the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) issued a request for information as a first step toward modernizing many of the systems, that support health care, child and family services, and chemical and mental health services.  The request for information (RFI) was issued as the first phase of an initiative to streamline technologies that will help achieve better outcomes at lower cost.  This modernization will take place in coordination with Exchange planning activities.  DHS was able to leverage $20 million in federal money to fund the initiative. The federal government provided a 90-to-10 match for states to streamline their eligibility processes. The Minnesota Legislature approved a $2.5 million appropriation in the 2011-2012 state budget to allow DHS to access the federal dollars. View the Request for Information

How do I keep informed on what is happening with Minnesota’s Health Insurance Exchange?

Sign up for the Exchange weekly updates e-mail . Updates will also be posted on this website - please check back regularly for updates.

Documents