Here's what lawmakers need to agree on to get a final health insurance relief bill

A few key details are standing in the way.

Let the negotiations begin.

The Minnesota House on Thursday passed an amended version of the Senate's health insurance rebate and reform bill with a 73-54 vote.

But because the bills are different, it won't be going to Gov. Mark Dayton just yet. (The bills also differ from the plan Dayton suggested.)

Instead, lawmakers from both chambers will likely meet in a conference committee to hammer out the differences. House Speaker Kurt Daudt said he's aiming to get the final bill to Gov. Mark Dayton by next Thursday, Session Daily reports.

This means the bill could become law before open-enrollment for individual market health insurance for this year ends on Jan. 31. State officials have said some people have avoided buying insurance because they can't afford it without a guarantee of a rebate.

So will both sides agree on a bill that Dayton will sign? Time will tell, but it looks promising – both parties have said they'll make compromises on things that have prevented them from making a deal in the past, the Pioneer Press says.

Here's a break down of the big differences between the bills, and how they compare to what Democrats have suggested.

Income restrictions

Both bills have the same idea – and it's something Democrats have also supported. They would give rebates to the roughly 125,000 or so Minnesotans who bought health insurance through the individual market (so through MNsure, or directly from an insurance company for example) but make too much money to qualify for the tax credits that significantly bring down the cost.

The House bill would give a 25 percent insurance premium rebate to Minnesotans whose income doesn't exceed 800 percent of the poverty line (that's above $194,000 a year for a family of four). The Senate's bill has the same maximum income limit, but would offer different tiers of rebates, between 20-30 percent.

Gov. Dayton's plan said everyone affected would qualify for a rebate, no matter their income level.

Who would distribute it?

The House and Senate bills call for the roughly $300 million in rebates to come from the state's rainy day fund. It would be distributed by a state-run system set up through the Minnesota Management and Budget commissioner, which would control how the rebates are distributed.

This is a problem for Dayton and Democrats, who say doing this could make it take too long for Minnesotans to get the relief they need. Instead, Dayton supports a system where insurance companies administer the rebates.

"Minnesota families facing steep premium increases in the individual market need help now, not later," House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) said, according to Session Daily. "That’s why Democrats support the governor’s proposal to provide relief to Minnesotans quickly."

But this difference may not hold up negotiations to pass the bill. The Pioneer Press says Daudt is "open" to letting the private sector run the rebate program instead of the state government, adding that if Republicans compromise on this, Dayton would need to be open to the reforms in the House's bill.


Republicans have stressed the need to reform the state's health care law, saying if nothing is done Minnesotans will face skyrocketing premiums in 2018 like they did this year when premiums went up by up to 67 percent.

Dayton and Democrats have said reforms shouldn't be tacked onto the relief bill, but should be a different bill. Although this week, Dayton said he'd be open to some reforms, the Pioneer Press says.

Some of the changes that are in both the House and Senate bills include allowing for-profit HMOs to sell insurance on the individual marketplace. The House bill also includes changes that Republicans say will help rural Minnesotans get access to the care they need through an agriculture cooperative health plan.

The bill allows health companies to opt out of offering plans that are required by the federal Affordable Care Act, including a list of things insurers can choose whether or not to cover.

Another key difference between the House and Senate bill is that the House's version doesn't include a $150 million state-run reinsurance program, Session Daily notes.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-10-21 at 5.14.36 PM

Mayor Carter announces COVID vaccine mandate for St. Paul city workers

It comes after Minneapolis announced the requirement for vaccines or regular testing for city workers in September.

two twelve medical center chaska GSV

Ridgeview cutting hours at 2 Minnesota urgent care locations

Hours of operation at a third location are also being shifted earlier.

Flickr - QFamily - Ben Jerrys

Latest to wade into Mpls. Question 2 debate is ... Ben & Jerry's?

The ice cream business said it supports the creation of a Department of Public Safety.

mickey moore driver's license shared

Mpls. candidate tries to 'set the record straight' about where he lives

Questions about Ward 9 candidate Mickey Moore's residency are quickly piling up.

Screen Shot 2021-10-21 at 1.49.16 PM

COVID-19 case rate drops in 51 of 87 Minnesota counties

Four of the 10 lowest case rates are metro-area counties.

unsplash - visitor patient doctor hospital emergency - crop

Allina mental health workers vote to unionize

Concerns over safety led the workers to unionize.

teacher, coronavirus, covid-19, school, classroom

Minnesota reports COVID deaths of teen student, 2 school staffers

Cases in schools rose again in the past week, though there are signs cases may have peaked.

Proctor football

Investigation of alleged misconduct on Proctor football team nears conclusion

The football team canceled its season and the coach subsequently resigned.

minnesota house of representatives

Minnesota House will continue hybrid operations, require masks in 2022

The Speaker of the House announced the plans in a memo to members and staff on Thursday.


Dayton isn't thrilled with health insurance bill, won't sign it – but it'll become law

Yes, generally a bill gets the governor's signature before becoming law.

Update: Help with health insurance costs is on the way

Not in the agreement? A proposal that would have let health insurance that doesn't meet Affordable Care Act requirements be sold in the state.

Republican health plan would save billions, but 24 million more people wouldn't have insurance

The Trump administration doesn't agree with the Congressional Budget Office's report.

Millions more wouldn't have insurance under House GOP's health care plan, report says

There's little change between the new plan and the earlier version of the AHCA that failed.

They're back: What Minnesota's lawmakers will try to get done this year

Let's see if lawmakers can agree on stuff they haven't been able to agree on for years.

What's in the tax bill agreed by Republican lawmakers?

The House and Senate agreed the bill on Friday.

The Senate passed a revised Real ID bill – here's what needs to happen next

We might not need a passport to fly domestically next year!