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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Dale Lueck (R)

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MNsure rates continue to rise

Friday, September 02, 2016

MNSURE RATES CONTINUE TO RISE

ST. PAUL – Minnesota families and individuals who buy health insurance on their own could pay upwards to 60 percent more for the upcoming year according to information released at the Healthcare.Gov website on Thursday.

Premiums in the MNsure health insurance exchange will likely increase significantly for the third consecutive year. Some form of the proposed hikes will become effective for 2017. This year’s increases are projected to be the largest ever once the detailed rates are finalized by the end of this month. Thursday’s preliminary health insurance rate increases are on top of up to 17 percent and 49 percent increases in 2015 and 2016.

“This is one of the most frustrating issues we face as legislators, as again we see huge hikes in health insurance costs driven by the federal Affordable Care Act and the course Governor Dayton set us on several years ago with creation of MNSure,” said Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin. “We made progress last year in undoing the property liens that were being placed on people’s estates that had accepted a government subsidy to help pay for their health insurance. I will continue to work on putting common sense back into how we deal with health care insurance, we have much work ahead of us in this area.”

Companies operating on the MNsure exchange have applied to the Minnesota Department of Commerce for rate increases in the following ranges: Blue Cross HMO: 36 to 67 percent; HealthPartners: 43 to 51 percent; Medica: 59 percent; UCare: 66 percent.

The Department of Commerce must approve the proposed 2017 rate increases before they can go into effect. The department can adjust the rate increase proposals if it finds them unjustified. The final 2017 rates for Minnesota will be announced on Sept. 30. Open enrollment for 2017 will begin Nov. 1.

The steep rate increases are expected to impact about 5 percent or roughly 300,000 Minnesotans that get their insurance on the individual market. That segment of the population includes self-employed people, those who don’t get coverage through their employer and retired individuals that are not yet eligible for Medicare. The rate increases do not apply to people currently on Medicare, Medicaid or MinnesotaCare health insurance programs.

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