Minnesota: Bills seek permanent fix

Friday, March 20, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota lawmakers have introduced a pair of bills that seek to unlink Medicaid pricing from competitive bid pricing.

“Because of the way the state rules were written, Minnesota Medicaid has to follow what Medicare’s reimbursement rates are,” said Rose Schafhauser, executive director of the Midwest Association for Medical Equipment Services. 

The bills, H.F. 1053 and S.F. 988, are a preventative move: Competitive bid rate pricing was supposed to go into effect July 1, 2013; however, the state legislature voted to delay implementation for a year in 2013 and then again in 2014.

Had the competitive bid pricing been applied to Medicaid, Schafhauser says the result would have been access issues, cheap equipment and delivery delays for Medicaid beneficiaries.

Another bill that’s in the works would change state sales tax language to specify that any item billed to third-party payers should be exempt from the tax. Currently, only items billed to Medicare or Medicaid are exempt from sales tax.

Sales tax is always a concern, says Don Clayback, executive director of NCART, who supports both bills. 

“Usually sales tax is not something that can be passed onto the patient, so the provider ends up having to pay,” he said.