8/12/2011 10:14:43 AM
ST. PAUL, MN - Governor Mark Dayton announced today that the state has received a $4.2 million grant to further the planning and establishment of a Minnesota-made health insurance exchange. The funding, awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will be administered by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. It will assist with exchange development, technical infrastructure, and stakeholder work groups to help design an insurance exchange marketplace.
"This funding will help us to provide better health care at lower costs for all Minnesotans. We have already made good progress in designing a health exchange that will put Minnesota in the forefront of health care reform," said Governor Mark Dayton.
States have until January 1, 2013, to create the foundation for their own health insurance exchanges, to be available to consumers beginning in 2014. The concept of an exchange is to provide Minnesotans the information and ability to choose their own affordable, quality health care coverage. The exchange will include a website much like Travelocity.com or Expedia.com that will allow Minnesotans to easily compare health care coverage options based on cost, quality and consumer satisfaction.
"Our state must move forward on an exchange built by Minnesotans, for Minnesotans - and this grant will help us achieve that," said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. "In doing so, we will seek thoughtful, constructive public input from all parties. We need all hands on deck - consumers, employers, insurers, agents, navigators, and health care providers - to help design an exchange that addresses Minnesota's unique health care system and demonstrate again why Minnesota leads the nation in health care innovation."
Since Minnesota received an exchange planning grant last February, the Department of Commerce has been working on preliminary analytical, operational, and technical infrastructure planning for an exchange, in partnership with the Minnesota Departments of Human Services and Health. This new grant provides resources to work on the design of an exchange and to establish an Advisory Task Force to provide guidance on the creation of an exchange in Minnesota. The Department of Commerce will ask for stakeholder participation on the Advisory Task Force by the end of this month.
"When complete, the exchange will provide consumers with a simple way to find, compare, choose, and purchase health care coverage. An exchange will provide comparative information in an apples-to-apples format, encouraging market competition on value and empowering Minnesotans to make informed health care choices that fit their personal and family needs," said Health Insurance Exchange Director, April Todd-Malmlov.