Republican reinsurance “fix” not fixing costs or access for Minnesotans

SAINT PAUL, October 2, 2017. – Today, the Minnesota Dept. of Commerce announced the 2018 health insurance rates for individual and small group plans.

Rates remain high, with out-of-pocket costs skyrocketing for Minnesotans who last year received a one-time 25% discount. These costs will increase 37% for BluePlus, 23% for Health Partners, 32% for Medica, and 15% for UCare consumers.

“Minnesota Republicans, like President Trump and those in Washington, D.C., are making health care more difficult to access and more expensive,” said Leader Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park). “All Minnesotans deserve access to quality, affordable health insurance and the care they need. Unfortunately, too many families still don’t have it.'

Access to affordable plans continues to be limited, with five Minnesota counties having only one insurance carrier (Medica). These counties are Meeker, Todd, Kittson, Lake of the Woods, and Roseau. Additionally, many plans will be capped again this year, limiting consumer access to affordable plans.

Earlier this year, Republicans passed $543 million in reinsurance for the insurance companies with no strings attached. Today’s rate release, and the recent delay of waiver approval from the Trump administration, prove reinsurance is a failed plan and not a long term fix. In addition, reinsurance threatens the vitality of MinnesotaCare, which provides health care for 100,000 low-income Minnesotans.

“Many Minnesotans, especially in rural areas, will still lack quality, affordable options for health care, and this is unacceptable,” said Rep. Jen Schultz (DFL-Duluth). “With the direct discount disappearing and the federal government potentially gutting funding available for the 100,000 folks who depend on coverage from MinnesotaCare, we need to look at practical solutions which improve outcomes for people, and not the bottom lines of insurance companies.”

A possible solution to provide affordable health care to Minnesotans across the state is the MinnesotaCare Buy-In option. Unfortunately, Republicans didn’t give the buy-in a hearing during the 2017 session, instead relying solely on unsustainable subsidies to insurance companies resulting in uneven rate increases.

“MinnesotaCare works today, and has worked well for 25 years,” said Rep. Clark Johnson (DFL-North Mankato). “Creating a MinnesotaCare Buy-In will provide an attractive health insurance option with more affordable rates and excellent provider networks for all Minnesotans, especially in greater Minnesota. This is a Minnesota solution that we should pursue to the fullest extent.”