St. Paul, MN—Rep. Jerry Hertaus, R-Greenfield, issued the following statement following the release of the health insurance premium rates for the 2014-2015 open enrollment period. The Department of Commerce announced Wednesday that rates would increase for a majority of consumers on MNsure in all parts of the state, many by double-digit percentages. The lowest-cost option for many men and women using Minnesota's Obamacare exchange is set to increase by more than 20% next year alone.
"Despite Minnesota already having among the highest percent of insured and among the lowest cost health care plans in the nation, Governor Dayton's decision to opt-in for Minnesota has regrettably resulted in higher costs, fewer choices, and hundreds of millions of dollars in wasted taxpayer funds," Hertaus said.
"Prior to the Affordable Care Act, Minnesota had among the lowest health care rates with freedom of consumer choice and access without government mandates and dictums. Instead of cost savings, Minnesotans are now paying more. Instead of being able to keep your previous plan or your doctor, more than 140,000 Minnesotans were forced to find new plans and new doctors because their existing plans no longer conformed to the Affordable Care Act. The President promised that "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan," but it has become imminently clear that this statement was disingenuous at best, knowing full well that most plans would not conform to the minimum standards that were to be established under the ACA, Hertaus continued. "I don't think it is very comforting for a 60 year old couple to know that in exchange for higher costs, higher deductibles, less choice and diminished access that they now have maternity coverage and other benefits that they do not need. Minnesota had developed MinnCare, its own safety net for those less privileged. We, in Minnesota did not need this federal mandate."
"Deductibles and premiums are rising. Meanwhile MNsure executives have received bonuses despite the $160 million website debacle which is still not functioning the way it should for a price tag that high. Minnesotans should demand answers and accountability for the broken promises and lack of leadership by a majority who refused to heed warnings and who put Minnesota all-in on Obamacare, and jeopardized the health and economic security for those individuals and families who did not need nor desire this change. Moreover, it's disappointing that Governor Dayton and MNsure officials are purposely obfuscating the rate increases. A vast majority of Minnesotans will face increases of 10, 20, 30% or more for their plans. This is deceptive political maneuvering on the part of the Governor, who needs to be honest about the real cost increases families will be facing next year., Hertaus concluded.
Dayton and MNsure officials are claiming an overall average premium increase of 4.5%, though that figure represents an average increase among the four remaining carriers, rather than an apples-to-apples average cost per plan between 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, and does not consider the increased costs for the majority (26,000) of Minnesotans who enrolled through MNsure through the lowest-cost carrier, which announced in September that they would not participate in MNsure for 2014-2015.
Since the implementation of Obamacare began last year, insurance premium costs are rising faster than ever. According to the Commonwealth Fund, individual market insurance premiums from 2003-2010 rose a total of 35% in Minnesota. In the first full year of Obamacare in Minnesota, the same rates rose 47% for Minnesotans according to the Manhattan Institute. For 2014-2015, one of the largest insurers remaining on MNsure is seeing a 17 percent average increase for 2015, meaning higher costs for thousands of Minnesotans.