ST. PAUL — House Republicans are sounding the alarm over a looming health insurance crisis following Friday’s news that final MNsure rates will rise 50 percent or more for 2017.
The latest rate increases are on top of hikes of up to 17 percent and 49 percent in the first two years of MNsure premium pricing adjustments. More than 75 percent of people who buy health insurance on their own do not receive any financial assistance from MNsure, undermining MNsure’s claims that tax credits will offset massive rate increases.
“MNsure’s problems are only growing larger and maybe what is most concerning is that rigid political ideology is continuing to run roughshod over people who can least afford these never-ending rate increases,” said Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township. “This isn’t about proving a political point, this is about doing what is right for Minnesotans. Proponents have turned a blind eye to MNsure’s failings far too long and it’s time for them to finally get on board with proposals more efficiency and transparency.”
It also was announced Friday that the Minnesota Department of Commerce has approved enrollment caps that will limit Minnesotans’ access to federal financial assistance and ability to find health care coverage.
Enrollment caps limit the number of new enrollees for certain insurers who sell insurance on the individual market. Due to MNsure’s inability to accurately process applications in a timely manner, Minnesotans who attempt to enroll through MNsure could be left without coverage through no fault of their own. Those who enroll directly with an insurer typically receive confirmation of coverage immediately.
Earlier this year, Democrats proposed hiking the MNsure Tax by $40 million and raising health care costs by $1 billion through permanently restoring the medical provider tax. Meantime, House Republicans proposed legislation to reduce the MNsure Tax, which would have saved families at least $22 million over the next three years. The measure passed the House during the 2016 session, but was vocally opposed by DFL legislators.
“Minnesotans deserve some answers,” Urdahl said. “Why is the people’s government standing in the way of reform that would save citizens money and provide a more accountable, transparent system?”
Urdahl and numerous fellow Republicans sent a letter to Gov. Mark Dayton demanding action on a law signed by him in 2015 requiring the Department of Commerce to seek a waiver that would allow Minnesotans to access tax credits off of the MNsure exchange.