About 270,000 people buy coverage through
Insurers defend the proposed spikes as necessary given escalating medical costs among enrollees. One health plan, in fact, said the only alternative would be to drop out of the market entirely.
Politicians pounced on the numbers, with
"These are big increases," said
The individual market serves about 5 percent of Minnesotans, including self-employed people and those who don't get coverage through their employer. It does not include people in the
Average premiums in
The individual market has been the focus of reforms under the federal health law, which prevents insurers from denying coverage to people with preexisting health problems. The change kicked in during 2014, along with the launch of government-run exchange websites where consumers at certain income levels can tap federal subsidies.
Insurers have struggled to make the business profitable ever since, with
The same issues are contributing to the increases that the biggest players in
With Thursday's release of preliminary data, a public comment period begins. Regulators are reviewing the justification for rates, so final premiums could change.
The proposed increases come after big jumps last year in
At the State Capitol,
"Once again, families who were told they would save
"Overall, as a result of the Affordable Care Act, we have the lowest rate of uninsurance in our state's history," Dayton said.
"Main drivers of the increases continue to be higher than expected medical costs and increased usage of covered medical services," the insurer said in a statement.
UCare officials said they had to choose between two tough options.
"The first was to exit the market altogether,"
Going forward, Commerce says it will evaluate if rates are justified considering benefits, expected claims cost and projected premium revenue. The department says it also will make sure carriers comply with consumer protection laws.
The benchmark premium for a 40-year-old in
Rates vary by region. In
The dollars get considerably bigger for people in family plans, where some cite annual health insurance costs of
(c)2016 the Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Visit the Star Tribune (Minneapolis) at www.startribune.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.