Some Obamacare customers in Minnesota will pay less for health insurance coverage in 2018, according to state rate filings published Monday.
The final rates, agreed to by the state and by insurers, range from a 3 percent increase to a 38 percent decrease. Mike Rothman, the state's Department of Commerce Commissioner, credited the decrease with a $549 million reinsurance program paid for by the state that will help cover costs during the next two years. The program helps pay for the medical costs of sicker customers so that the costs for others do not rise.
"While recent state actions helped to stabilize the individual market, too many Minnesotans are still paying too much for the coverage they need," Rothman said. "The individual market survived a near-fatal crisis last year, but its recovery is still very tentative."
Minnesota officials have filed a waiver with the Trump administration to be reimbursed for the reinsurance fund and plan to use rainy day dollars if the waiver isn't granted.
In past years, Minnesota has seen double-digit rate increases, some as much as 50 percent last year. At the time, the state's Democratic governor, Mark Dayton, said Obamacare was "no longer affordable." He later expressed regret over the comments and called for a quick response.
Several other states are facing steep hikes in 2018 as insurers face uncertainty about the future of what federal lawmakers and officials will do to Obamacare.
Most people who buy their health insurance through the Minnesota exchange, called MNsure, receive federal subsidies that help them pay for coverage and do not personally feel the impact of rising premiums. People who make too much to qualify for subsidies, meaning a gross income of $48,240 a year for an individual and $98,400 for a family of four, feel the brunt of premium increases under Obamacare.
Open enrollment will run from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, roughly half as long as last year.