"MNsure is one part of Minnesota's long-standing commitment to affordable, quality health care reform. "
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President in March 2010. On June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court rendered a final decision to uphold the health care law.
One key feature of the law was that affordable health insurance exchanges or markeplaces (like MNsure) would be set up in every state. They will allow residents to compare health plans, get their questions answered, find out if they qualify for tax credits or health programs, and enroll in a health plan.
One of the provisions of health reform requires that, beginning in 2014, new health insurance plans must include a minimum set of health care services and products. The minimum set is commonly called Essential Health Benefits and it applies to plans within exchanges and also outside of exchanges.
Plans in effect prior to March 23, 2010 are not required to add Essential Health Benefits. However, if the plan does cover an essential health benefit, it must eliminate annual and lifetime coverage limits on the essential health benefit.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce is responsible for setting the standard “benchmark plan” for the state.
The ACA requires that all individuals have health insurance beginning January 1, 2014. In addition, insurers are required to cover everyone, regardless of health status or history.
The purpose of the requirement is to make sure people don’t wait until they have a health issue to purchase insurance. By bringing healthy people into the covered group, there is a better balance of sick and healthy individuals, and average costs are kept down.
Through the MNsure exchange/marketplace, individuals and families can find out if they qualify for health programs, or for tax credits that will lower the cost of coverage. Small employers with fewer than 25 employees who provide health insurance may qualify for a federal tax credit of up to 50%.
Although employers are not required to offer health insurance to employees, most who employ more than 50 employees will pay an assessment if they don’t offer affordable coverage that covers minimum essential health benefits.