Healthy Minnesota: A Partnership for Reform
Insurance Reform Work Group
Summary of Meetings to Date
Healthy Minnesota: A Partnership for Reform is a comprehensive, collaborative health
care reform project to improve Minnesota’s health care system. The Partnership seeks to
improve the quality of care, hold down rising health care costs, and provide all Minnesota
citizens with affordable insurance for essential health care services.
The Healthy Minnesota steering committee has formed four work groups, each focusing
on a different aspect of health care reform. The work groups are charged with developing
specific ideas to recommend to the steering committee, which is ultimately responsible
for developing a comprehensive reform proposal. The four workgroups are: Health Care
Delivery Market Reform, High Quality Care, Insurance Reform, and Public Health.
Below is a summary of the meetings to date of the Insurance Reform Work Group.
May 31, 2006 Meeting Summary. At its first meeting, the Insurance Reform Work
Group discussed potential action areas for the group. Universal coverage was one of the
key themes discussed, but the group agreed to seek direction from the Steering
Committee on how best to address universal coverage and the issue of affordability. The
need for an equitable, universal and fair funding mechanism for a universal coverage
proposal was discussed, as well as the issues around defining a basic benefit set.
June 14, 2006 Meeting Summary. At its second meeting, the group spent the bulk of the
meeting discussing the insurance reform components of the Physicians’ Plan for a
Healthy Minnesota, with an eye toward determining which pieces to prioritize for action,
which pieces needed further development, etc. Individual mandates were discussed,
along with implications for implementation, verification and enforcement, guaranteed
issue, subsidies to achieve affordability, political viability, and potential interaction with
other public programs. The group also discussed the complications involved in
community rating and guaranteed issue for an essential benefits package. Other
components of the Physicians’ Plan for a Healthy Minnesota that were discussed were
recommendations to reinsure high cost claims and to help employers to make coverage
more widely available.
July 12, 2006 Meeting Summary. This was the third meeting of the Insurance Reform
work group. A sub-group presented a “community rating tutorial,” intended to bring
work group members up to speed on how rating principles are applied in Minnesota’s
health insurance market. The group had a vigorous discussion of individual and small
group rating in Minnesota, and decided to focus their attention first on the issue of
defining an essential benefits set.
August 9, 2006 Meeting Summary. The fourth meeting of the Insurance Reform Work
Group focused on several presentations related to expanding health care coverage and
developing an essential benefit set. A new study from the MN Department of Health was
discussed that estimates the cost of covering the uninsured in Minnesota. Preliminary
results were also reviewed from modeling done by Blue Cross/Blue Shield to evaluate
different options for coverage expansion. The group also listened to and discussed
presentations related to the essential benefits set, including one about the MN Care
benefit set and a second relating to the benefit set for the Public Employees Insurance