Addressing Minnesota’s rising health insurance rates

ST. PAUL, Minn – I am a long-time champion of better health care access and coverage for all Minnesotans. The current rate hikes for MNsure are incredibly troubling, and there is no denying that changes must be made. We can all agree on this. But it is also important to point out that last session, Senate Democrats heard and passed three separate proposals all aimed at reducing the price of premiums. These bills did the following:

  •         Sought federal approval to reduce the number of geographic rating areas. These federally mandated geographic ratings have contributed to higher rates in much of rural Minnesota. Bill chief authored by Sen. Matt Schmit (DFL-Red Wing).
  •         To increases choices, we introduced legislation directing Minnesota to apply for a federal waiver making it possible for all Minnesotans to purchase MinnesotaCare. By adding a new health plan (rated statewide) all rural families win with greater choice and lower cost. Bill chief authored by Sen. Kathy Sheran (DFL-Mankato).
  •         Requested a federal waiver to allow families, with employer provided health care, to include the premiums for family plans in their calculations when determining if they are eligible for a tax subsidy. This measure allows families that currently do not qualify for premium tax credits or cost sharing reductions to reduce the cost of their plan. Bill chief authored by Sen. Vicki Jensen (DFL-Owatonna).

In addition to these proposals, I believe we should examine a reinsurance program that provides government assistance to insurance providers for the individuals with the most expensive medical conditions. This would bring down insurance premium costs considerably for all other individuals participating in the exchange. This has already been the case with the State of Alaska in legislation that was passed this year. The Senate has been looking ahead towards increasing health costs and have put forth solutions to help our communities, but we need to do more. These proposals, once signed into law, will benefit the thousands of Minnesotans seeking access to affordable health care.

If you have questions or concerns about this or other legislation, please contact Senator Hoffman at (651) 296-4154 or at sen.john.hoffman@senate.mn.

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Senator John Hoffman
John Hoffman represents District 36, which includes portions of Anoka and Hennepin County.

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