Dayton says Minnesota will not extend insurance coverage


Minnesota will not allow people to keep their insurance plans another year despite an executive order from Pres. Barack Obama to allow it.

Gov. Mark Dayton made the announcement after hearing from a group of Minnesota health insurance companies who said they opposed the President's actions.

The Minnesota Council of Health Plans sent a letter to Dayton asking him to reject President Obama's executive order allowing insurers to offer non-ACA-compliant plans to current customers next year. The Associated Press says the group represents seven insurance companies including the major providers like Blue Cross Blue Shield, Health Partners, Medica and PreferredOne.

Last week Obama, saying they had fumbled the opening of the Affordable Care Act, issued an executive order last week to allow those losing coverage to keep their plans for up to a year, before forcing them into a plan that meets ACA requirements.

The group said Minnesota does not need to follow the order because insurers did not cancel plans, the plans were updated.

Dayton expressed support for Obama's plan last week, but the Pioneer Press reports that he backed away from it Monday.

"Your letter raises serious concerns that these changes would create confusion in the marketplace, while leaving Minnesotans with fewer affordable health care options," Dayton wrote.

In his response letter, Dayton said he has directed state officials to proceed with the current implementation of MNsure and the Affordable Care Act with the plans made before the announcement from the president.

The Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal reports that Dayton was won over by the groups arguments that insurers don't have enough time to file for rate approvals and that the change would create confusion. They added that allowing people to keep their old plans will discourage them from buying coverage through MNsure.

The plans sold through MNsure must comply with ACA requirements and those plans will be more expensive but offer richer benefits than other policies. The state's largest insurers sent letters to 146,000 Minnesotans describing the changes, required by federal law. Those who received the letters will see an average premium price increase of about 20 to 26 percent, although that will vary.

According to the group, young people may be more likely to keep the lower-cost plans, potentially driving up the cost of coverage on the exchange.

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