Preliminary estimates surrounding Minnesota’s small business health insurance plans show potential double digit increases in 2018, reports the Star Tribune. The four largest health insurers estimate increases between 8 and 17 percent for plans in 2018, greater than the increases incurred in 2017. The final numbers will be released by the Commerce Department by Oct. 2.
The reasons cited by the major insurers include higher than expected medical rates and greater levels of illness.
“The biggest driver of the rate change is the increasing illness level of policy-holders,” said insurer PreferredOne according to the Star Tribune. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, the second-largest carrier of small group plans, indicated that the reinstatement of a federal health tax on insurers was another factor in their requested premium increases.
NFIB State Director Mike Hickey called the potential premium increases “very alarming.”
“They’re serving up pretty large increases – way beyond nominal, way higher than health insurance inflation and very concerning,” said Hickey according to the Star Tribune.
Estimates put the number of potentially affected individuals around 160,000. After the failure of legislators to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act earlier this year, healthcare costs have continued to increase around the country.