Minnesota House Passes Key Provisions Of Debt Fairness Act

April 23, 2024 9:29 pm
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On April 15, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed the Commerce Policy Omnibus bill, which includes key provisions of the Minnesota Debt Fairness Act. Minnesota AG Keith Ellison supports this bill and celebrated its passage.

Provisions of the Debt Fairness Act included in the Commerce Policy Omnibus bill are:

Banning the automatic transfer of medical debt to a patient’s spouse. This aligns medical debt with other types of debt, which are not automatically transferred to a spouse.
Banning medical debt from being reported to consumer reporting agencies. Minnesota joins Connecticut and California in this initiative to stop medical debt from being reported on a consumer report.
Protecting the last $4,000 of someone’s bank account from collections. This aligns Minnesota with states like Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota, which all protect some money in people’s bank accounts.
Capping garnishment levels based on income. This provision adjusts the cap on wage garnishment based on income, starting at 5% for low-income Minnesotans and ending at 25% for high-income Minnesotans.
The provision of the Debt Fairness Act that bans providers from denying necessary medical care to Minnesotans with outstanding medical debt will be included in the Health Policy Omnibus bill in the state House. In a press release announcing the passage of the bill, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison stated “The Minnesota Debt Fairness Act fixes much of what’s broken in our debt collection system and makes that system more fair and just for everyone involved.”

Why It Matters

AG Ellison’s endorsement of the bill harmonizes Minnesota’s approach to other states that have initiated or enacted comparable legislation to address the issue of consumer medical debt. This bill follows a similar measure in Colorado last year supported by Colorado AG Weiser. The endorsement from State AGs for these debt reform actions could potentially act as a catalyst, leading to comparable initiatives in other jurisdictions.

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