The health insurance reforms that were passed during the 2017 Legislative Session helped end a four-year run of double-digit premium increases (nearly 60% last year) and helped stabilize the individual health insurance market. Earlier this month, the Minnesota Department of Commerce released the final rates for the 2018 individual market in Sibley and McLeod County: Medica customers will see a rate decrease of .4% and Blue Plus customers will see a much smaller rate increase of 2.8%. According to the Minnesota Department of Commerce, rates would have risen by 20% or more without the reforms that were championed by Republicans.
In addition to lowering costs, these reforms helped guarantee that all current insurers will continue serving the individual market next year. They also assisted in expanding health care options and improving access to hospitals and doctors by requiring that health care providers offer in-network access to more than one provider system in the counties in which they operate.
Even with the reforms that were passed, I know that our work is not done. Many individuals are still facing unsustainable health insurance premiums. Reducing health insurance costs and improving access for Minnesotans will remain as top priorities as we look ahead to the 2018 Legislative Session. While the Associated Press has reported a projected average increase of 34% for popular plans under Obamacare, Minnesota is trending in the other direction and is working to become a national leader in health care once again.