For more information contact: Chad Urdahl 651-296-5520
A top priority for the Minnesota House is to lower health care costs for Minnesotans. Now it is official: Action we took this year has reversed the four straight years of double-digit premium increases and helped expand health care choices to Minnesota families – especially in rural areas.
Rates for the 2018 individual insurance market were released on Monday, confirming that Republican-led reforms stopped the massive increases of the last several years. The reforms also mean more and better insurance products from which people can choose.
We acted early in this year’s legislative session on a suite reforms. These include changes that give small businesses more affordable health insurance options for their employees, and that make it easier for farmers and other agribusinesses to band together and buy better health coverage.
This year’s enactment of the soon-to-be launched 40 Square health care cooperative is a major victory for parts of the state such as ours where many people work in the agriculture industry. It will feature six health plans available to people working in ag. Members will have access to health plan options that are self-funded through a member-owned, member-governed system to ensure full transparency and empower Minnesota farm families.
Representatives from 40 Square are conducting a series of town hall meetings around the state this fall to provide citizens with more information. Look for more details as meeting dates are set. Additional information regarding 40 Square are available at https://40square.coop/.
The premium relief comes as a result of the Minnesota Premium Security Plan. We recently received approval from the federal government to move forward with this model and, for good reason. The Minnesota Department of Commerce says rates could have risen by 20 percent or more without the reform. Instead, because of the MPSP, premiums are projected to decrease or hold flat for hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans on the individual market – those who do not receive health insurance through their employer or the government.
The MPSP is not a perfect plan, but it will help since we all recognize that double-digit rate increases every year since 2014 – including nearly 60 percent for 2017 – were unsustainable.
Just as importantly, all current insurers will continue serving the individual market next year. For the first time in two years, Minnesotans in all 87 counties will have at least one plan option with broad access to doctors, clinics and hospitals. And every plan will have access to at least two different provider systems.
Minnesota had the reputation as being a national leader in health care before the federal Affordable Care Act mandated changes that turned the system on its ear. The changes we made in Minnesota this year are helping to get us pointed in the right direction once again.
We all hope that in the near future long-term solutions can be established at the federal level. That would be a relief to people who are worn thin by health insurance uncertainty. In the meantime, I encourage people to consult a trusted adviser when considering health insurance choices since changes are ongoing and professional advice would be valuable in making the best choices.