ST. PAUL – For the second consecutive year, House-led reforms have helped reduce or hold flat individual market health insurance rates after years of double-digit increases following the implementation of Obamacare in Minnesota.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce on Friday released preliminary rates for the 2019 individual insurance market, revealing that all five of the carriers on the individual market are projected to decrease premiums for 2019. Average preliminary rates are dropping between 3 and 12.4 percent. The individual market serves Minnesotans who buy health insurance on their own, not through an employer or the government.
“It is unfortunate that many Minnesotans experienced great financial hardship as a result of our state rushing into Obamacare,” said Rep. Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls. “Rising insurance costs devastated many family budgets and left people having to make life-altering decisions simply to afford their premiums. I am proud of the work the House has done to not only stop the trend of annual double-digit increases, but to bring us all the way to the point of people enjoying double-digit decreases. This is the kind of work that will allow our state to regain its status as the national health care leader it was before our cart was turned upside down by joining Obamacare.”
From 2014-2017, average rates increased by double digits every year, including nearly 60 percent for 2017. Thanks to reforms enacted in 2017, individual market rates for 2018 remained flat or were reduced for most Minnesotans on the individual market. The Minnesota Department of Commerce confirmed last year that without Republican reforms, rates would have risen by 20 percent or more.
The nationally recognized, Republican-led reforms were supported by just one Democrat in the Minnesota House. Gov. Mark Dayton refused to sign the measure, opting to let it become law without his signature.
The House also pushed for and successfully passed other key reforms to increase the number of health care options for Minnesotans by expanding agriculture co-op plans, and allowing more insurers into the market, a move that is already paying dividends for seniors on Medicare and employees. Democrats pushed unsuccessfully during the 2018 session to eliminate these health plan options.
The House also successfully passed a nation-leading reform that ensured Minnesotans would have greater access to more doctors by requiring that plans on the individual market provide in-network access to more than one provider system, reversing the trend towards narrower networks.
Final rates for the 2019 individual market are expected to be released in October 2018.