Proposed Minnesota health insurance rates for 2018: Smaller hikes, some decreases

- Minnesota residents who buy their own health insurance plans, including those sold through MNsure, are getting their first look at rates for next year. The proposed rates are great news for patients shopping the individual market next year, with the potential for only a small increase or even declines in rates.

Preliminary rates for 2018 range from a 15 percent decrease to an 11 percent increase compared to 2017.
As of April this year, about 166,000 Minnesotans get coverage through the individual market, according to Minnesota Commerce Department figures. Most Minnesotans still get health coverage from employer-sponsored insurance or public programs like Medicare, Medical Assistance (Medicaid) and MinnesotaCare.

This year, insurance companies were required to submit two sets of proposed rates: One set with a new state reinsurance program, and one set without. The Minnesota Legislature passed a law this year to create the Minnesota Premium Security Plan, a reinsurance program designed to control health insurance premiums on the individual market.

The implementation of Minnesota’s reinsurance program still requires the approval of the federal government, which is pending. Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman said the state is hoping to hear a decision by the end of August. Premiums would likely increase if the federal government doesn’t approve the state’s reinsurance plan.

Final 2018 rates will be announced by Oct. 2. The open enrollment period to buy health insurance for 2018 begins on Nov. 1, 2017 and is scheduled to continue through Dec. 15.

The rate proposals must be reviewed by the Commerce Department, which is accepting public comments through Aug. 31. Minnesotans can view the proposed rates at mn.gov/commerce and submit comments to healthinsurance.ratecomments@state.mn.us.

Statement from Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton

"Minnesotans, who buy their health insurance on the Individual Market, are receiving the tremendous news that proposed insurance rates will remain essentially unchanged next year. That assumes the federal government will approve our state's new Reinsurance Law, as we have requested. I applaud the Minnesota legislators, who worked together to pass this pioneering legislation, which is being shown to cause major reductions in the costs of health insurance next year for many thousands of Minnesotans.

"However, those reductions come at a very high cost to our state's treasury, totaling $543 million over the next two years. We will be hard-pressed to continue to provide those subsidies alone. It is essential that the President and the US Congress act now to share this responsibility in the years ahead."

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