ST. PAUL, MN—On Friday the Minnesota Department of Commerce released preliminary rates for the 2019 individual insurance market, revealing that for the second consecutive year, Republican-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.
All five of the carriers on the individual market are projected to decrease premiums for 2019, with average preliminary rates dropping between 3% and 12.4%. The individual market serves Minnesotans who buy health insurance on their own, not through an employer or the government.
"Minnesotans can breathe a little easier knowing that their health care rates will likely go down next year," said House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown. "Minnesota Republicans delivered on our promise to reform our health care system, reversing the skyrocketing premiums we saw under Democrat policies—today's news is confirmation once again that our approach is working and delivering results for Minnesota families."
From 2014-2017, average rates increased by double digits every year, including nearly 60 percent for 2017. Thanks to Republican 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% or more.
The nationally recognized, Republican-led reforms were supported by just one Democrat in the Minnesota House. Governor Dayton refused to sign the measure, opting to let it become law without his signature.
Republicans 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.
House Republicans 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.
"When Democrats had their way on health care, premiums skyrocketed, health plan choices were taken away, and the individual market was in tatters," said Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, chief author of the reinsurance law. "Under Republican leadership, rates have stabilized, health care choices have increased, and it appears our individual market is back on stable footing. The contrast could not be more clear. Today's news is encouraging for Minnesotans who are concerned about rising health care costs, and a sign that we're on the right track fixing our health care system."
Final rates for the 2019 individual market are expected to be released in October 2018.