Today marks the one month since the launch of MNsure, Minnesota's ObamaCare exchange. The open enrollment period began October 1st, allowing individuals without health insurance to shop online and compare health insurance plans.
Unfortunately, the results have been mixed at best. The first week was plagued with technical difficulties and website glitches. Users had trouble creating accounts, and were unable to determine whether or not their doctor or clinic was covered under any given plan.
The provider search function still doesn't work as promised, though MNsure has assured us updates will occur sometime in the near future.
In the Metro, we're fortunate to have a relatively large selection of plans to choose from. However people in other parts of Minnesota are facing fewer choices through MNsure. In some parts of Southeast Minnesota, there is just one option to choose from. This lack of competition will result in higher prices for many, and could mean that people won't be able to keep their doctor or clinic.
We also learned this week that at least 140,000 Minnesotans will lose their current health plan thanks to ObamaCare regulations. "If you like your plan, you can keep it," was the promise made by proponents of the bill, but for 140,000 Minnesotans and approximately 15 million Americans, that unfortunately will not be the case.
Minnesotans are feeling the effects of ObamaCare: canceled plans, higher costs, and fewer choices. For the 140,000 Minnesotans losing their plan, it could mean thousands of dollars out of their pockets each year. This wasn't the reform that was promised to us.
Exchanges and marketplaces were intended to provide additional competition in the health insurance industry, which would in theory drive down costs for consumers looking to purchase health care. Instead we're seeing the opposite effect with the government picking winners and losers by determining which plans can sell plans on the exchange. Furthermore, ACA regulations are completely eliminating certain plans that many consumers found satisfactory and met their health insurance needs. That fact, combined with the subsidies that are funded by your hard-earned tax dollars that are only available through the exchanges, is destroying competition in the health insurance market.
I'm hopeful that MNsure and their respective stakeholders will continue working to address the numerous issues plaguing MNsure from the technical difficulties to the higher costs and fewer insurance choices. Minnesotans deserve a system that fulfills the lofty promises that were made to them.
Thank you for the continued privilege of representing our community at the legislature.
Rep. Jerry Hertaus
State Representative, District 33A