Healthcare Crisis Looms Larger Than Ever

Date: October 18, 2016 Last Edit: October 20, 2016

A quarter-million Minnesotans might be hurt by huge rate hikes.

Healthcare Crisis Looms Larger Than Ever

Premiums in Minnesota are
projected to jump as much as 67 percent in the next year, according to Bloomberg,
making this a stunning hike that will hit small business owners hard.

 Minnesota Commerce Commissioner
Mike Rothman said in a statement that the new range is between
50 percent and 67 percent.

Currently, about 5 percent of
Minnesotans get their healthcare coverage from individual policies, meaning
this new rate hike hurts around 250,000 Minnesota residents. These include
plans bought through the state health insurance exchange MNsure as well as outside
it. “It does not include people in the Medicare, Medicaid, and MinnesotaCare
health insurance programs,” the Star Tribune
reports.

 The 2017 rates for individual and
small group plans “are increasing to the point of not being sustainable.”
Rothman noted.

 ”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. “This year the need for reform is now without
any doubt even more serious and urgent.”

 The upper income threshold for
tax credit eligibility in 2017 is $47,520 for an individual and $97,200 for a
family of four, Rothman said in his statement.

Around 70,000 people had
insurance on the Obamacare markets this year. Of those, a little more than half
(63 percent) received subsidies last year, according to the commissioner’s
office.

“The unhealthy combination of
massive cost increases and enrollment caps is creating a healthcare crisis for
thousands of Minnesota families,” Republican Minnesota State House Speaker Kurt
Daudt said in a statement.

 NFIB Minnesota State Director
Mike Hickey says the Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association’s depopulation
is the main reason for raising the premium rates. “In Minnesota’s individual
market, the biggest factor has been the depopulation of the high-risk pool, MCHA,
and all these people who have some sort of serious health problem who have been
forced to migrate into the individual market under Obamacare,” he says. “This
has dramatically driven up premiums in that market.”

He added: “Imposing a community
rating on that market, as well as the small group market, has been another big
factor in causing dramatic premium increases.”

 Hickey cited an example of one
member who has no employees and therefore must buy his insurance in the
individual market.

 “Coverage for he and his wife
last year cost $17,335, not counting deductibles and co-pays! They received a
large 62 percent increase last year, and now they are facing another
intolerable 50 percent to 66 percent increase this year due to the collapse of the
individual market.”

Overall, according to Hickey,
these “huge increases” will affect small businesses’ “insurance premiums.”

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