Supreme Court’s decision means Minnesotans can count on access to affordable health care

From U.S. Sen. Al Franken

On June 28, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) praised the Supreme Court for upholding the health care reform law, saying that Minnesotans for generations to come will be guaranteed access to affordable health care.

Sen. Franken also noted this decision means that the provisions he wrote into the law – including the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) – remain intact, guaranteeing rebates of an average of $160 will be sent to more than 123,000 Minnesota families who were overcharged by their insurance companies.

“The Supreme Court’s upholding of the health reform law is great news for people in Minnesota and across the country,” said Sen. Franken. “Countless Minnesotans — for generations to come — will no longer have to suffer the burden of worrying about getting health insurance.

“There’s a lot of great stuff in this law. Just last week, I announced that nearly 125,000 Minnesotans will get refunds from their insurance company because of the medical loss provision I wrote into the law, which requires insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of their premium dollars on actual health care or provide refunds when customers are overcharged. Those checks will start reaching families this summer.

“Because of this law, 35,000 young Minnesotans are now able to stay on their parents’ insurance plan until they turn 26. Seniors are already getting free preventive care, and are getting more help paying for their prescription drugs. And starting in 2014, insurance companies can’t deny coverage to anyone with pre-existing conditions.

As this law goes forward, Minnesotans will no longer live in fear that a car accident or illness will throw them into bankruptcy or that they’ll lose coverage if they lose their job.

“Health care will now be more affordable and accessible for millions of people in Minnesota and across the country. This is a good day for the people of Minnesota.”

Sen. Franken authored the MLR provision during the debate on health care reform. It was inspired by Minnesota’s long-standing medical loss ratio law and the state’s non-profit health insurers, which lead the nation in keeping administrative costs low.

Under the MLR provision, large group health insurers are required to spend at least 85 percent of what they collect in premiums on actual health services. Small group and individual market insurers are required to spend at least 80 percent.

The health reform law also includes Sen. Franken’s Diabetes Prevention Act, which helps patients with pre-diabetes avoid full-blown type 2 diabetes through 16 weeks of diet and exercise education.

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