Cooperative Network led agriculture cooperative healthcare option signed into law

Cooperative Network led agriculture cooperative healthcare option signed into law

Cooperative Network-led language that would allow for the establishment of an agricultural cooperative health plan was signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton on January 26. The provision was contained in a larger piece of legislation aimed at providing healthcare premium relief to assist in stabilizing Minnesota’s individual insurance market. The overall legislation provides a one-time $325 million appropriation from state budget reserves for premium relief to those who buy insurance through the individual market, a provision to allow for continuity of care in severe healthcare cases, and several other reform measures aimed at strengthening the individual market for 2018.

House File 1/Senate File 1 was passed by large bi-partisan margins in both bodies, also on January 26. In the Senate, the legislation was passed by a 47-19 vote, while in the House it received a 108-19 vote. While the agriculture cooperative health plan language was contained in Senate File 1 as it moved through the committee process, it was added as an amendment to House File 1 during House floor debate last week by Rep. Tim Miller (R – Prinsburg).

The agricultural cooperative health plan language was included on the heels of many discussions that were held between Cooperative Network, lawmakers and their staff over the course of the past several months. In fact, Cooperative Network and our member-owners have worked diligently for many years to see a similar plan put into place. Legislation was passed in 2007, 2010 and 2013 to achieve a similar goal, however, regulatory obstacles have prevented it from coming to fruition.

Cooperative Network is grateful to all lawmakers, administration officials, staff, and other stakeholders who have worked to advance this effort.

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