Health Care In The States

Minnesota Says Its Marketpace Rates Are Nation’s Lowest So Far

By Elizabeth Stawicki and Catharine Richert, Minnesota Public Radio

September 6th, 2013, 5:40 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota consumers will be able to buy a health plan for as little as $90.59 per month on MNsure, the new state health insurance marketplace, state Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman said Friday.

Rothman said Minnesota has the lowest average rates for individuals and families compared to the other states that have revealed the costs of their plans thus far (that includes 13 states and the District of Columbia, according to a Kaiser Health News running tally).

Data released Friday offered a first look at the new health insurance plans and rates that will be sold on MNsure. More than 1 million Minnesotans are expected to use the marketplace to obtain health coverage when it goes live on Oct. 1, offering coverage that takes effect at the start of next year.

A family of four earning as much as $31,322 a year would be eligible for free Medicaid health insurance across Minnesota.

A total of 141 individual / family and business plans are expected to be offered from five companies – Blue Cross Blue Shield, HealthPartners, Medica, PreferredOne and UCare, MnSure said. Rothman said all Minnesota counties will be served by at least two insurers. The state also posted a list of MNsure provider networks.

The plans are categorized by “metal level” — bronze, silver, gold and platinum — based on the portion of a person’s health costs the plan will pay for. The lowest-cost $90.59 policy is based on a 25-year-old, non-smoker living in the Twin Cities who selects a “bronze” plan, the department said. The highest rate listed was $407.51 per month for a 60-year-old non-smoker in the Twin Cities enrolling in a “platinum plan.”

The rates unveiled Friday don’t include any financial aid or subsidies that might be available to some consumers. It also wasn’t immediately clear what the rates would be for Minnesotans who smoke.

For small group coverage, the sticker prices (not including a small business tax credit) for MNsure monthly plan costs range from $1,127 for a small business with five workers and a $20,000 average gross income to $1,986 for the top plan with five employees earning $50,000 or more.

Officials did not have data comparing policies and prices available to Minnesota consumers now compared to what would be offered for 2014 coverage in the MNsure marketplace.

Asked repeatedly if consumers would be saving money in the MNsure marketplace, Rothman said most individuals and families “will be able to find a product that is competitive” and for “many, many it will be less” even before any subsidies. The MNsure premiums and marketplace drew criticism from Republicans Friday.

State Rep. Joe Hoppe criticized the amount of taxpayer money that has been spent to date to set up the exchange and said the rates released Friday are higher than those on the individual market now. “How does making health insurance more expensive encourage more people to get insured?” Hoppe said.

This story is part of a reporting partnership that includes MPR News, NPR and Kaiser Health News.

7 Responses to “Minnesota Says Its Marketpace Rates Are Nation’s Lowest So Far”

  1. marie says:

    “Rothman said Minnesota has the lowest average rates for individuals and families compared to the other states that have revealed the costs of their plans thus far (that includes 13 states and the District of Columbia, according to a Kaiser Health News running tally).”

    Gee, I wonder what Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (Republican-Minnesota 6th) has to say about this article? According to news reports, she isn’t running for re-election. I wonder why? I thought her constituents loved her? Could the apparent success of Obamacare thus far be the reason why she looks like such a moron in the eyes of her constituents?

  2. greg says:

    Republicans are scared to death that Obamacare might be a huge success. When they read articles like this, they must be wondering to themselves how in the world they could be so wrong about something? You see, Republicans will never understand that poor people will always be with us and they will always need help. Republicans think you can ignore the problem and it will simply go away. Fact is, ignoring 50 million uninsured people isn’t a strategy. It’s insanity!

  3. Greg:
    That’s world today, you wanna pay for 50 milions people from you own pocket?

  4. Ray says:

    Keep in mind, that $90/month policy is for a 25 year old non-smoker, its about quadruple that if you’re a 60 year old smoker.

    Also, you’re going to be paying thousands of dollars out of pocket before any coverage kicks in, something on the order of a $6,000 deductible (aka, nearly 6 years of premium, and it resets every single year).

    Who the hell can afford a deductible that’s 60 times the premium? Expect to see a lot of people with a plan they can’t afford to use.

  5. Dennis says:

    Let’s all approach this with an open mind. This is the law and the future path of our medical insurance, like it or not. Something had to be done whether this is the correct path has yet to be determined. It is a work in progress. You can’t change a distribution system like this without future tweaks.

    A 60 year old smoker paying $360 a month is a deal. And you are right, low premiums mean large deductibles and out of pocket costs at claim time. You want a smaller deductible, you will pay more premium. We have gone long past the time of cheap, 100% medical coverage. You want 100% coverage for a cheap price, that is called single payer.

    PPACA is a way of filling in the holes and gaps in private insurance and still allow a private marketplace. We better hope this is successful for failure means bailout by a single payor system.

  6. Mike says:

    What are you smoking Ray? Are you for real? Dude! you need to calm down and stop drinking the Republican brew. Here’s a suggestion my friend. Go to the subsidy calculator and plug in a few scenarios and maybe you’ll learn something. Most of all, stop listening to Republicans. They are proven liars.

  7. Mike says:

    Dennis, you are 100 percent correct. Obamacare is an exact copy of Romneycare. Romneycare is an exact copy of what the conservative Heritage Foundation proposed in the late 1980′s. The theme for all three of the above models is mandated health insurance provided by private insurance companies. All three models are based of robust competition in the private sector. So, what you say is true! Republicans had better hope that Obamacare is a success because if it fails, universal single-payer health care is the only answer to control costs while covering every single American.