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Report: MNsure has low rates, high deductibles

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MNsure officials and Gov. Mark Dayton recently have trumpeted this bit of good news: The state's new online health care marketplace has the lowest premiums among the 14 states that are managing their own marketplaces.

But here's the downside: Low premiums mean higher deductibles, and so Minnesota also leads the 14-state group (plus the District of Columbia) with the highest deductibles, MPR News reports.

That fact was found in a new analysis from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Breakaway Policy Strategies, which found the average annual deductible for a MNsure plan was $4,061, more than twice the deductible for a similar plan in Massachusetts or Maine, MPR notes. That's significant for consumers because deductibles are the amount of money the consumer must pay out of pocket before insurance kicks in.

In other MNsure news this week, a national report released Wednesday showed state-run heath exchanges lead the way for signing up consumers in need of health coverage.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the 14 states that operate their own exchange websites account for three quarters of more than 100,000 consumers who have selected health plans between Oct. 1 and Nov. 2. Nearly 4,300 consumers used MNsure in its first month (October) to choose a plan or obtain coverage, the federal report said.

Interest in MNsure remains high, state officials say. Officials are hiring more employees at the MNsure call center to help alleviate long wait times, MPR reports.

In other news today, President Barack Obama in a lengthy press conference sought to quiet criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, which mandated the creation of the online health care marketplaces. Obama announced that insurers nationwide would be allowed to continue offering individual insurance plans for another year, even if they do not comply with the law’s rules for minimum benefits, the Washington Post reported.

The move came in the wake of widespread criticism from consumers and Congress that insurers were canceling their insurance, even after Obama had vowed that people who liked their insurance could keep it.

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