Michigan Association of Health Plans

Minnesota’s individual health insurance rates likely to fall in 2019, small groups’ could rise

Originally published by TwinCitites.com

Minnesotans who buy health insurance on the individual market will likely see lower rates next year while those who buy coverage in small groups could see an increase.

The Minnesota Commerce Department released proposed insurance rates for 2019 on Friday. The rates are subject to state review and could change.

Individual market rates are projected to fall between 7 percent and 12 percent, the department said. Employers with two to 50 people could see anywhere from a 3 percent decline to a nearly 12 percent increase in costs.

The proposed rates include the impact of a reinsurance plan approved by the Legislature in 2017. That move aimed to shield insurers from high-cost patients and keep rates on the individual market down.

State law allows $542 million to be spent on the reinsurance plan during the current fiscal year that ends June 2019. Reinsurance covers 80 percent of insurer’s costs for an individual’s annual claims between $50,000 and $250,000.

Republicans quickly responded by saying the proposed rates were proof the reinsurance plan worked.

“..Today’s news is confirmation once again that our approach is working and delivering results for Minnesota families,” House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said in a statement.

The reinsurance program is set to end next year and the affect that will have on the market is unclear. Republicans have sought to dismantle MNsure, the state’s marketplace for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, while Democrats have proposed expanding the eligibility for the state insurance program MinnesotaCare.

“Minnesota taxpayers should not have to keep subsidizing insurance companies to hold down health care costs. We need a marketplace solution,” Gov. Mark Dayton said in a statement that also called the expected lower rates “good” but “expensive” news.

A health care provider tax that is expected to raise $692 million to fund MinnesotaCare will sunset at the end of 2019.

The Commerce Department rate review includes accepting public comments through Aug. 15. Final rates will be announced by Oct. 2.

About 4 percent of Minnesotans purchase insurance through the individual market. The majority purchase through the state’s MNsure exchange, the only way to receive government subsidies if you qualify.

MNsure open enrollment is scheduled to run from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15 this year.

Another 5 percent of Minnesotans get their insurance from employers through the small-group market. Those plans are purchased through insurance companies and brokerages.

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