State releasing rates for individuals, small employers

October 2, 2018

The Minnesota Department of Commerce on Tuesday is expected to release final 2019 rates in two key markets that collectively provide coverage for about 470,000 Minnesotans.

In June, Commerce released data showing the four largest carriers in the individual market were seeking average rate decreases that generally range from 7 to 12 percent, depending on the insurance company.

It was the latest sign of stability in the individual market, which for several years was plagued by premium spikes under the federal Affordable Care Act. This spring, 162,000 Minnesotans were buying individual coverage, where consumers can purchase via the state’s MNsure exchange or directly from some carriers.

Minnesota’s largest health insurers for small businesses proposed in June average rate increases next year of between 3 percent and 12 percent, according to a Commerce release at the time. Among other things, the state’s release showed that Minnetonka-based UnitedHealthcare, the nation’s largest health insurer, was following through with plans announced last year to enter the state’s small group market in 2019.

Groups with 50 people or less buy coverage in the market, which had been shrinking for more than a decade before seeing a sudden rebound in enrollment last year to about 310,000 people. Insurers attributed the increase to consumers fleeing premium jumps in the state’s individual market.

“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 news release. “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.

Christopher Snowbeck • 612-673-4744 Twitter: @chrissnowbeck

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