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The Minnesota Department of Commerce has determined that Minnesota’s rates for health insurance policies available through MNsure, the state’s health insurance marketplace, starting October 1, are confirmed as the lowest rates compared with the other states that have released rates including the District of Columbia – across all metal levels.

The analysis conducted by the Commerce Department used data released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) comparing the statewide averages for health insurance rates for the 36 states with federal health insurance marketplaces. Minnesota retained its ranking as offering the lowest average health insurance rates in the United States.

“Any way you look at it, Minnesota’s long history of health reform, including Commerce’s rate review process, has truly benefited our state’s consumers,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “Having the lowest rates in the country provides Minnesotans with more options, greater access, and more value for their money.”

The premium rates approved by the Commerce Department are 20 to 43 percent lower than our neighboring states: Iowa’s average bronze plan rate for a 27 year-old is $139, North Dakota is $185, Wisconsin is $189, and South Dakota is $196 per month for a bronze plan purchased by a 27 year-old. The price difference is significant — a 27-year-old Minnesotan can purchase a gold plan for $20 less per month than a bronze plan sold across the border in Wisconsin, resulting in more healthcare options at a lower cost.

Minnesota’s consumer-friendly rate review process is one of 31 states in the country that can deny rates requested by insurance companies based upon whether the rates are justified. The Commerce Department’s actuaries conduct statistical analyses and closely scrutinize the assumptions that health insurance companies use to develop rates.

The new plans and rates recently approved that are available during open enrollment include many consumer protections. Those protections include making all health insurance available to every Minnesotan, even those with pre-existing health problems and expanded benefit sets that provide free preventive care. Additionally, to protect consumers, Commerce Department staff reviewed all policy forms to ensure they included the consumer protections in state law.

Health plans included in MNsure will be sold during open enrollment which began October 1, and coverage will take effect January 1, 2014.

MNsure plans are categorized as bronze, silver, gold or platinum based on how much of the cost is paid by the insured person. For example, bronze plans are likely to have lower premiums but higher out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, co-pays and coinsurance. In addition to these four “metal levels,” high deductible “catastrophic plans” are available for young adults under age 30 and certain other qualifying individuals. All plans provide coverage for the set of essential health benefits that are now required by law.

Once a consumer decides what plan of coverage he or she wants to purchase, four factors can affect the premium rate: age, area of the state in which the person resides, whether the person uses tobacco, and how many people are covered by the plan. Minnesotans will want to visit MNsure or call the MNsure consumer call center to learn whether tax credits available exclusively through MNsure can be applied to their premiums to further lower their premium payment.

For more information on Minnesota’s health insurance rates or the rate review process in Minnesota, visit the Commerce Department’s website to view the rates, frequently asked questions, and additional information about the new health care reform changes that begin January 1, 2014.

 

 Information provided by the Minnesota Department of Commerce

 

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