New MN law protects access to preventive health care threatened by court challenges to Affordable Care Act
5/24/2023 9:17:54 AM
A law signed today by Governor Walz includes new requirements for health insurers that the Minnesota Department of Commerce said today will protect Minnesotans’ access to preventive care, helping them keep their families healthy and saving them money.
Commerce drafted the requirements months ago, anticipating recent federal court challenges that jeopardize no-cost preventive care guaranteed under the Affordable Care Act. The new law, modeled after the ACA, requires health insurers that are regulated by the state to continue to provide preventive services at no cost.
“In the complex world of health policy and insurance regulation, the Department of Commerce stays laser-focused on caring solutions that keep all Minnesotans healthy or save them money,” Commissioner Grace Arnold said. “The good news is those solutions also are products of old-fashioned Minnesota common sense. Common sense tells us, for instance, that charging for lung cancer screenings or screenings for conditions like gestational diabetes will put them out of reach for many hard-working families.”
Minnesotans have had access to more than 100 preventive care services at no cost for years under the ACA.
“This law is a key part of making Minnesota the best state for children and families,” Arnold said. “It means that regardless of what happens in the courts, families whose insurance is regulated by the state won’t lose access to health care they’ve had for years. They won’t lose access to immunizations for childhood diseases. We will be able to identify risks earlier, which means teen-agers with depression can get access to treatment earlier. And adults with cardiovascular disease can receive needed medicine.”
Research confirms that when consumers are required to pay for these preventive services, they do not use them. A survey this month by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network found that most cancer patients say they would be less likely to remain current with their recommended preventive care if they had to pay for it. The barrier of cost also compounds health disparities across racial and economic groups.
“The new law is common-sense policy and demonstrates that Minnesotans care for each other,” Arnold said. “Regardless of what happens in the courts and what other states are doing to deny access to some groups, we’re doing the right things around health care in Minnesota and protecting access to care when families need it.”
Many Minnesotans are covered by employer health plans that are regulated exclusively under federal law. These plans can eliminate coverage for preventive care merely by providing two months’ notice. The ACA provisions were enacted precisely because some companies refused to cover these services cost-free.
“We urge employers with employee health plans regulated by the federal government to act to safeguard preventive health plans,” Arnold said.
Get updates and news from the Minnesota Department of Commerce by following Commerce at mn.gov/commerce or @MNCommerce on social media.