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May 2013 S@teside

Update on Exchanges in New Mexico and Minnesota

Both New Mexico and Minnesota have made significant progress toward a state-based health insurance exchange in 2013, passing authorizing legislation and recently appointing governing boards.
Exchange legislation had been stalled in Minnesota since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010. In 2013, the Democratic Farm Labor (DFL) party gained control of the legislature and passed authorizing legislation which was signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton on March 20, 2013. The legislation establishes the Minnesota exchange as an entity within the executive branch governed by a seven-member board. In 2014, the exchange will accept all plans that meet minimum standards, but it will be permitted to act as an active purchaser beginning in 2015. The Exchange will be funded by a 1.5 percent premium withhold in 2014 and up to a 3.5 percent premium withhold in beginning in 2015.  The Exchange will now be rebranded as MNsure. Governor Dayton appointed a 7-member board on April 30 and the first board meeting was on May 17, 2013.

In a short amount of time, New Mexico also has made some important strides. This month, Governor Susana Martinez appointed six members to the Board of Directors. These newly appointed members join the superintendent of insurance and the six members appointed earlier by the legislature. Shortly thereafter, the New Mexico Insurance Exchange held its first Board meeting. The Board made two important decisions, including choosing to use a federally operated exchange for individuals, while still establishing and operating the state's small business (SHOP) exchange. Additionally, the Board selected Michael Nuñez as interim CEO. Nuñez has been the executive director of the New Mexico Health Insurance Alliance, an alliance of independent health insurers who have agreed to offer a full range of health plans to companies with 50 or less eligible employees and qualifying individuals. The state intends to transition to a state-based exchange in 2015.