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MNsure rates will rise, but federal tax breaks will save Minnesotans money

MNsure estimates that families that buy insurance through the marketplace will save $684 on average.

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ST. PAUL — Rates for individuals who buy health insurance on MNsure, the state-run marketplace, will rise between 4.3 and 11.3 percent, the Minnesota Department of Commerce said Friday, Oct. 1.

However, many Minnesotans will ultimately pay less in premiums thanks to tax credits from the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress in March. MNsure estimates that families that buy insurance through the marketplace will save $684 on average.

“Most MNsure enrollees who qualify will see significant savings in 2022, making it the best year for consumers to take another look to see how much they can save,” said MNsure CEO Nate Clark said in a statement.

MNsure’s open enrollment period begins Nov. 1 and runs through Jan. 15. Plans purchased by Dec. 15 will begin coverage Jan. 1 while those bought later will start Feb. 1.

The 2022 individual health plan rates announced Friday are higher than the more modest increases the state experienced a year ago when rates rose between 0.67 percent and 4.21 percent. Health officials say many people deferred care during the coronavirus pandemic because of concerns over safety.

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This year’s higher rate increase for coverage starting in 2022 led Senate Republicans to again call for more funding for the state’s reinsurance program that was established in 2017. The program uses taxpayer money to help insurance companies cover the cost of their sickest customers.

“Reinsurance not only stopped double-digit rate increases, it actually resulted in rate decreases for health care consumers.” Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, said in a statement. “I hope we are able to come together to fully fund the reinsurance extension and prevent future increases for the Minnesotans who rely on this important market for affordable health insurance.”

About $188 million in reinsurance funding was included in the bipartisan two-year state budget agreement the Legislature approved in June.

Democrats have reluctantly supported the reinsurance program while criticizing it as a giveaway to rich insurance companies. Instead, DFLers have called for expanding public insurance options.

About 165,000 Minnesotans get their insurance through MNsure, the state’s health insurance market establish under the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. Of those, about 145,000 purchase individual health plans and 23,250 receive MinnesotaCare, the state-funded insurance for the working poor.

Another 113,000 Minnesotans receive federally-funded medical assistance and about 4.7 percent of the state’s 5.8 million residents are uninsured. Nationally, about 11 percent of the population was uninsured in 2019.

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