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Letter: 2013 health care exchange update

Under the Affordable Care Act, states are required to create a health care exchange accessible to individuals, families, and small businesses. By establishing the Minnesota Health Insurance Marketplace Act, Minnesota can implement a system that better represents the needs of Minnesotans. This legislation will allow individuals and businesses to leverage insurance competition resulting in lower premiums.

An exchange is an online marketplace where businesses and individuals can find an apples-to-apples comparison of coverage options. Insurance plans will follow a standardize format, allowing the buyers to easily compare plans to find the best deal.

Through the proposed legislation, an estimated 300,000 more Minnesotans will have coverage, reducing the costs all Minnesotans pay to cover uncompensated care. Funding for the Exchange will be provided through a fee collected on all tobacco products at the wholesale level.

The Exchange will also be governed by a seven member board. Members of the board will be appointed by the Governor and represent consumer groups, health experts, and the Commissioner of Human Services. The members of the board are subject to a conflict of interest provision.

Sen. Rod Skoe