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Lower health care costs projected for second straight year

Friday, June 15, 2018

 

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’s good to see reforms we enacted the last couple of years are helping Minnesota regain some of what sadly was lost when our state raced to join in on the Obamacare disaster,” said Rep. Steve Green, R-Fosston. “It is disappointing that Minnesota families have had to suffer because of bad decisions that were made back then, but the good news is improvements the House brought about are turning the tide. It’s rewarding to hear that once again many people will either see their prices remain flat or even enjoy a reduction after years of seeing costs skyrocket. Our job isn’t over, but it is nice to know people will have some relief as we continue our work.”

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.

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