MNsure health plan rates remain stable in 2020

Welcome news for those who buy health insurance on the individual marketplace.
Hospital bed

Health insurance rates for those who buy their plans through MNsure are staying relatively flat in 2020.

The finalized rates were released on Tuesday ahead of the open enrollment period that started Nov. 1, with the rates for individual health plans bought from the health insurance marketplace mostly going down.

The steepest price cut comes from PreferredOne, whose individual plans on MNsure will reduce by 20 percent on average.

Meanwhile there are single-figure rises for most of the small group health insurance plans, a market that serves companies with fewer than 50 full-time workers.

What's more, the Minnesota Commerce Department says that there will be at least two insurers offering coverage in the individual market in every county in Minnesota, which is the result of Blue Plus joining Medica in offering statewide plans.

Meanwhile three providers – UCare, HealthPartners and Medica – say they will not be capping enrollment in 2020.

Here's a look at the average rate changes for those buying individual plans for themselves or their families – all but one of which can be bought through MNsure.

  • Blue Plus: -1.5%
  • Group Health (HealthPartners): -1.26%
  • Medica: -1.01%
  • PreferredOne (not on MNsure): -20%
  • UCare: +0.18%

Here are the rates for small group plans:

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MNsure says it wants anyone planning on buying health insurance through its exchange to check first if they're eligible for tax credits or financial help, noting that 75 percent of uninsured Minnesotans in 2017 would have qualified for help through MNsure. 

You can find details on its tax credits here and its income guidelines on the MNsure website.

"There is a misconception that most people earn too much to qualify for financial help through MNsure," said MNsure CEO Nate Clark. 'When the truth is that an individual earning up to $49,960 a year, or a family of four earning up to $103,000 a year, can qualify."

You'll be able to view 2020 plan options through MNsure starting Oct. 15.

New rates spark partisan reactions

House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt says the flat insurance rates is the result of the reinsurance program passed by the Legislature in recent years to reduce healthcare plan hikes.

The program, which sees the state subsidize the healthcare costs of the sickest Minnesotans, was just extended for two more years in the most recent budget deal.

"Thanks to Republican leadership insurance rates are dropping for the third consecutive year, our individual market remains stable, and families have more health care choices," Daudt said.

Democrats in the Legislature and Gov. Tim Walz wanted to bring an end to the reinsurance plan this year, and replace it with a 20 percent rebate for Minnesotans who buy through MNsure but can't get tax credits under the Affordable Care Act.

They also wanted to offer a public "buy-in" health insurance option, which it says would be competing with private insurers to lower premium costs and co-pays.

House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler said the GOP's "only plan for health care" is "writing a blank check to insurance companies."

"While there are short-term positives in today’s news, this doesn’t help Minnesotans struggling with high deductibles and high out-of-pocket costs for necessities like prescription drugs," added House Speaker Melissa Hortman. "House DFLers are committed to making affordable health care a reality for everyone."

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