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RELEASE: Rep. Dave Baker Statement on Preliminary Health Insurance Rates

Monday, July 31, 2017

ST. PAUL, MN—On Monday the Minnesota Department of Commerce released preliminary rates for the 2018 individual insurance market, revealing that Republican-led reforms could end the four year trend of double-digit premium increases since the implementation of Obamacare and MNsure in Minnesota. The individual market serves Minnesotans who do not receive health insurance through their employer or the government.

If approved by the federal government, the Minnesota Premium Security Plan will result in premium decreases for tens of thousands of Minnesotans. In contrast, average rates increased by double digits every year since 2014, including nearly 60 percent for 2017. As a result of the reinsurance program, all current insurers will continue serving the individual market next year. In addition to the reinsurance program, Republicans successfully pushed for consumer protections that will provide access to better networks of hospitals and doctors.

These 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.

“One thing I heard over and over from local residents was a need to make health insurance more affordable for the average Minnesotan,” said Rep. Dave Baker, R-Willmar. “Today’s preliminary rates release is good news for those on the individual market, and I’m proud to have voted for this bill.”

According to the Minnesota Department of Commerce, rates could have risen by 25 percent or more without Republican reforms. On Monday, Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, is sending a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price urging approval of the required waiver from the federal government needed to allow the reinsurance program to proceed.

"If Democrats had their way, today we'd be looking at another year of massive increases of 25 percent or more," said Speaker Daudt. "We know Obamacare’s impact is still hurting Minnesota families, but we’re proud to take initial steps toward stabilizing the market, lowering costs, and successfully keeping all insurers in the individual market for next year."

Final rates for the 2018 individual market are expected to be released in October 2017.

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