The discounts amount to the latest sign of stability in the individual market, which for several years was plagued by premium spikes under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). About 155,000 Minnesotans currently are buying individual coverage, where those who don't get coverage through their employer can purchase on the state's MNsure exchange or directly from some carriers.
Rates will be rising 3 percent to 12 percent for large carriers in the small group market, state officials said, but the individual market continues to garner more attention as the
"We do think it's really important that the new governor and the Legislature take a really hard look at how to continue to provide the state support necessary for a stable individual market," said
"On average, rates are going down in the individual market because of lower utilization rates, lower costs for service,
The magnitude of individual market premium changes will vary by carrier, including average declines of 7.4 percent at
Looman noted that premium declines for 2019 follow a 2018 rate release that also featured flat or declining premiums, depending on the carrier. The declines for 2019 are generally bigger, however, and apparently have a wider geographic reach.
In 2018, the "benchmark" premiums declines across much of the state, but they increases in southeast
The data release Tuesday from Commerce, however, shows that benchmark premiums will decline in every county. Consumers in greater
A 40-year-old nonsmoker in
"The second-lowest priced silver plan available through MNsure for a given county is called the 'benchmark plan,'" Commerce said in background materials. "The price of the benchmark plan is used to calculate the federal tax credit that reduces monthly premiums for eligible individuals and families."
Open enrollment for individual market shoppers begins
Individuals earning up to
Beginning in 2014, the ACA stopped carriers from denying coverage to people in the individual market based on pre-existing health problems. The law also called for the creation of government-run health insurance exchanges like MNsure plus tax credits that would be made available through the exchanges.
After several failed attempts last year by
For small employers, average premiums will increase next year, but Looman said the market continues to be stable and will provide single-digit premium increases for most. The market had been shrinking for more than a decade before seeing a sudden rebound in enrollment last year to about 310,000 people, likely because consumers were fleeing premium jumps in the state's individual market.
The small group market in 2019 will see more competition with the entrance of
"About three percent of Minnesotans buy their health insurance coverage in the individual market, which is for people who do not have coverage through their employer or public programs like Medicare, Medicaid and MinnesotaCare," Commerce said in a statement. "About 5.5 percent of Minnesotans receive their health insurance coverage through the small group market, which offers coverage for businesses and organizations with 2 to 50 full-time employees."
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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