The Potluck

Senate GOP calls for extension of reinsurance after double-digit MNSure rate increases announced

By: - July 26, 2021 3:55 pm

The Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul as the sun sets on Election Day, November 3, 2020. Photo by Tony Webster.

Senate Republicans say they will push for another extension of the reinsurance program following the announcement of preliminary health insurance rate hikes of up to 13.2% for individuals who buy health insurance on their own.

The Department of Commerce is reviewing proposed insurance rates that were published Monday. They showed that UCare is seeking a rate hike of 13.2% over last year’s rates; HealthPartners is proposing an increase of 11.3%, followed by Medica at 9.3%.

Final rates will be published in the fall, and individuals who purchase health insurance on their own may be eligible for financial assistance, a spokeswoman for MNSure said in a statement.

“The federal American Rescue Plan has increased the amount of financial help available to Minnesotans who buy their insurance on the individual market – but only if they purchase their health plans through MNsure,” MNSure spokeswoman Libby Caulum said. “The increase in benefits means Minnesotans who purchase health insurance through MNsure will be able to find a plan with premiums that cost no more than 8.5% of their household income – that’s more affordable than ever before.”

Reinsurance is a program that uses state tax dollars to reimburse insurers for high-cost insurance claims, allowing them to keep rates lower.

“The new rate release confirms what we’ve been saying all along: if we want to provide relief for Minnesotans a full investment in reinsurance works,” state Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, said in a statement.

Last month, the Legislature approved a one-year extension of the program. Democratic lawmakers had pushed to end the program during the recent legislative session, while Republicans sought to maintain it.

“Gov. Walz’s plans to end reinsurance will hurt people across the state who rely on the individual market, and with the program slated to end in 2023 it is imperative he joins the Senate Republicans and extend and fully fund this successful program,” Benson said.

In a statement, a Walz spokeswoman said: “The Governor is focused on lowering the actual costs Minnesotans pay for their insurance, not providing insurance companies with more money. With more Minnesotans getting increased federal financial help, his focus is on how to maximize state dollars to increase access to quality, affordable health coverage.”

 

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Ricardo Lopez
Ricardo Lopez

Ricardo Lopez is the senior political reporter for the Reformer. Ricardo is not new to Minnesota politics, previously reporting on the Dayton administration and statehouse for The Star Tribune from 2014 to 2017, and the Republican National Convention in 2016. Previously, he was a staff writer at The Los Angeles Times covering the California economy. He's a Las Vegas native who has adopted Minnesota as his home state. In his spare time, he likes to run, cook and volunteer with Save-a-Bull, a Minneapolis dog rescue group.

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