SAINT PAUL – Minnesotans can now see proposed 2018 rate information submitted by Minnesota insurers to the Minnesota Commerce Department for individual health insurance plans, including those that will be sold through MNsure.
All insurers that currently offer health plans in Minnesota’s individual market have filed rate proposals for 2018.
The insurers’ rate proposals, which are preliminary and must be reviewed by the Commerce Department, are available on the Commerce website (mn.gov/commerce). Also available are proposed 2018 rates for small group health plans that serve employers with 2-50 employees.
Final 2018 rates will be announced by October 2. The 2018 open enrollment period to buy health insurance begins on November 1 and is scheduled to continue through December 15.
The individual market rate proposals apply only to Minnesotans who directly purchase their own health insurance policies. Most Minnesotans receive coverage from employer-based insurance or public programs such as Medicare, Medical Assistance (Medicaid) and MinnesotaCare.
As of April this year, about 166,000 Minnesotans have coverage through the individual market.
This year, for the first time, insurers were required to submit two sets of proposed rates: One set with, and one set without, a new state reinsurance program.
Earlier this year, Minnesota enacted a law to create the Minnesota Premium Security Plan. This reinsurance program is designed to help stabilize premiums in the state’s individual market, providing a financial backstop against especially high-cost claims.
Implementation of the reinsurance program is contingent on federal approval, which is pending. The state's application for what is known as a 1332 waiver application was submitted by the Commerce Department to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“To date, we have received positive feedback from federal officials to get their approval for the reinsurance program,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “We are still waiting to receive that approval and hope federal authorities decide by the end of August in order to help finalize the lower rates with reinsurance for 2018.”
Despite uncertainties about potential Congressional action on health reform, the Commerce Department instructed insurers to prepare their rate proposals based on existing federal laws and regulations that currently apply for 2018.
On behalf of Minnesota consumers, the Commerce Department will conduct a rigorous, thorough rate review of each insurer’s rate proposal.
Rates must be justified both by the benefits that consumers receive for their premiums and by the insurance company’s ability to pay expected medical claims costs based on premium revenue.
Insurers must also comply with state and federal laws that protect consumers, including coverage for pre-existing conditions and free preventive care, the adequacy of the provider network and the procedures an individual must follow to enroll or have a claim paid.
As part of the rate review process, the Commerce Department is accepting public comments on the insurers’ 2018 rate proposals through August 31. Minnesotans can submit comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.