Gov. Mark Dayton could sign health insurance premium relief into law thursday evening or Friday morning after both chambers of the Minnesota Legislature approved the bill thursday afternoon.
A few hours after the Senate approved health insurance premium relief 47-19, the House approved it 108-19.
Once it becomes law, the measure would provide 25 percent discounts to the roughly 120,000 people buying insurance on the individual market who don’t get federal subsidies to offset soaring premiums. It will cost taxpayers an estimated $310 million to reimburse insurers for the discounts.
It also includes several other provisions affecting health insurance. Some are uncontroversial, such as a $15 million provision helping people with serious medical conditions keep their doctors into 2017 even if they’ve lost their old plan’s network.
Others are more controversial, such as a clause letting for-profit companies operate as HMOs in Minnesota. For decades minnesota hmos have been required to be nonprofits.
Gov. Mark Dayton says he’ll likely sign the bill despite disliking the for-profit HMO clause. Democrats in the Legislature are more divided.
Critics said allowing for-profit HMOs would harm patients by diverting money to shareholders, while Republicans defended it as a way to possibly get more insurance companies offering coverage in Minnesota.
In the senate thursday afternoon, 19 DFL senators voted against relief because of the for-profit HMO clause, while 14 DFL senators voted for it. Several of them said they also objected to allowing for-profit HMOs but considered passing relief too important to vote now.
All 33 Republicans present voted yes.
The House saw all 73 Republicans present vote yes, along with 34 Democrats. No votes came from 18 Democrats, primarily from the state’s major urban areas: