"I think we need a plan,"
That's because the efforts state lawmakers put in place to help stabilize the individual insurance market are winding down. Subsidies for high premiums ended after 2017 and a two-year,
LEGISLATIVE INTERVENTION HELPED STABILITY
Before the Legislature implemented those two programs
Looman said she believes some of that decline was caused by consumers entering other markets adding that she hopes those who abandon individual plans will come back as insurance gets more affordable.
State officials also credited the state's strong economy, a decline in utilization of medical services and prescription drugs and healthier customers as reasons the individual insurance market has stabilized.
Actual savings in 2019 will depend on a consumer's age, what plan they buy and whether they qualify for tax credits, officials said.
MNSURE OPEN ENROLLMENT COMING
The majority of Minnesotans who buy insurance on the individual market use MNsure, the state's marketplace for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, because that is the only way to qualify for tax credits. Individuals earning up to
"MNsure is still here, we can save you money and there is free help if you want it," said MNsure CEO
Open enrollment for MNsure runs
They can expect rates to rise on average between 3 percent and 11.93 percent with one insurer decreasing 2.37 percent. State officials attributed the increases to a general rise in health care costs and higher overall usage of medical services in that market.
WHAT ABOUT ACCESS?
Taxpayers will no longer face a penalty if they don't have insurance, but state officials say the effect on the individual market should be minimal.
Malcolm added that overall provider networks were also expected to remain stable in 2019 with "only minor changes in service areas." MNsure has faced criticism for the shrinking number of insurers who wanted to do business on the marketplace.
The state will add one health care provider network on MNsure in 2019 and service areas are not going to be reduced, Malcolm said. Only
LOTS OF UNCERTAINTY
The future of
Continuing the reinsurance programs would require agreement among the next governor, the Legislature and federal officials. Dayton is not seeking re-election.
Besides figuring out the best way to keep the individual market stable, lawmakers need to decide the future of a 2 percent tax on medical providers that is set to expire at the end of 2019.
The money goes into a health care access fund that is used for a variety of things, including health and human services programs, efforts to keep health care accessible and MinnesotaCare -- the state insurance program for the working poor.
"This is going to be an urgent item for the 2019 Legislature," Malcolm said. "There are things in that health care access fund that we believe are powerfully important for keeping care affordable and keeping Minnesotans healthier, which have nothing to do with the federal reimbursement for MinnesotaCare."
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