Health

Minnesota Obamacare Exchanges In 'Emergency Situation'

| by Lauren Briggs

Minnesota Obamacare exchanges are set to suffer major setbacks this year, as consumer premiums increase as much as 67 percent for some insurers.

Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, who supervises the Affordable Care Act exchanges, announced the news in a Sept. 30 release, in which he said that the exchanges are "on the verge of collapse" after Blue Cross Blue Shield exited the market following significant financial losses and other major insurers were preparing to follow suit, according to Business Insider.

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"The Commerce Department pursued every option within its power to avert a collapse this year," Rothman explained. "We succeeded in saving the market for 2017, with only Blue Cross leaving. But the rates insurers are charging will increase significantly to address their expected costs and the loss of federal reinsurance support."

A major factor in the sudden loss of insurers is the federal reinsurance program, which covered losses related to taking on sick patients and expires in 2016.

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Four years ago, Minnesota had one of the lowest premium rates in the nation, but individual market premiums on average are expected to go up 50 to 67 percent. Both provider networks and the number of total customers accepted are set for significant reductions, notes the Twin Cities Pioneer Press.

"Last year at this time when rates were announced, I said there was a serious need for reform in Minnesota's individual market," Rothman said in the release. "This year the need for reform is now without any doubt even more serious and urgent."

Meanwhile, Minnesotans who are insured by either an employer or government program like Medicare, MinnesotaCare or Medical Assistance will likely also see sizeable increases, even after they shot up by double digits in 2015.

"While federal tax credits will help make monthly premiums more affordable for many Minnesotans, these rising insurance rates are both unsustainable and unfair," said Rothman. "Middle-class Minnesotans in particular are being crushed by the heavy burden of these costs. There is a clear and urgent need for reform to protect Minnesota consumers who purchase their own health insurance."

Sources: Business InsiderPioneer Press, Minnesota Department of Commerce / Photo Credit: White House/Flickr

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