On Thursday, the Minnesota Department of Commerce announced more insurance premium increases for those enrolled through Minnesota’s Obamacare exchange, MNsure. After what we’ve heard from Governor Dayton on this issue, I’m disheartened, but not surprised, by the news.
These won’t be small increases, either. Individuals insured through MNsure with Blue Cross and Blue Shield could see a 49% increase. In the Twin Cities, a 40-year-old may pay up to $113 more PER MONTH with family plans going even higher. This isn’t a couple extra bucks to stay on your insurance. It’s a massive increase that many Minnesotans will not be able to afford when it comes time to pay their bills.
Just last year, MNsure rates jumped 41% on average for Minnesotans. We can’t continue to take money out of family budgets to pay for a system that doesn’t work as promised. Despite Governor Dayton and DFL assurances of more affordable insurance, we continually see that isn’t the case.
One of my main concerns with the huge increases is how they may impact our small businesses here in Carver County. Many employers operate on small margins and can’t afford an extra fee for health insurance. This type of additional cost harms business growth and stifles innovation.
This is the latest in a string of MNsure failures. From a faulty rollout, to difficulties for counties in assisting residents with the enrollment process, to spending $250 million on a failing website, MNsure, in short, has failed Minnesota. Technical bugs that existed since MNsure’s launch still plague the website today. Just a couple weeks ago, the Star Tribune reported MNsure failed to send premium notices to around 55,000 enrollees due to a technical issue. This creates a direct financial impact on the state – about $10 million.
It’s time to reform or replace MNsure to help our residents afford the healthcare they were guaranteed when MNsure was signed into law. Last session, House Republicans passed bills to increase competition in the market in order to decrease costs for consumers. Unfortunately, Governor Dayton and Democrats doubled down on MNsure at the expense of hardworking Minnesotans. Where did that leave us? With a second straight year of massive rate hikes. In the 2016 session, I hope Governor Dayton and Democrats will have the humility to admit that this system is failing and is in need of reform.