On Monday, the Minnesota Senate passed a bill to create the state-run healthcare marketplace aimed at serving more than 300,000 currently uninsured residents.
The bill is now waiting for approval from Governor Mark Dayton, who has stated publicly he will sign it and has already hired employees to operate the exchange, according to The Associated Press.
After the House passed the bill on Friday, the Senate approved it in a 39-28 vote. The focus of the healthcare legislation details the online marketplace, where small employers and individuals will be able to shop for and purchase coverage. Officials forecast the exchange will help insure roughly 1.3 million Minnesota residents by 2016.
Lawmakers supportive of the exchange aim to build it by the end of March, which is the federal government’s deadline for state-based exchange creation.
Representative Joe Atkins, the bill’s author, stated Minnesota families that purchase coverage through the online marketplace will be able to save $490 a year in insurance costs.
However, several legislators who oppose the system’s implementation are wary the $60 million needed a year to run it will actually increase benefits costs because of associated premium taxes potentially hiking up plan prices.