BEMIDJI-Individuals looking for insurance policies during Minnesota's open enrollment period that starts Nov. 1 should see a significant cost decrease from years past, MNsure's top official said Friday, Oct. 12.
For MNsure-the state's health insurance marketplace-decreases ranging from 7.4 percent to 27.7 percent are expected for customers. MNsure CEO Nate Clark called the decreases a market correction.
"The reason for that is entirely, I think, the reinsurance program," Clark said. "In 2017, the Legislature passed two programs, one was premium relief and the other was reinsurance. And taken together, those two programs have stabilized the market. Over the past two years, it halted increases, helped it get steady and now is turning on its head."
The next open enrollment period starts Nov. 1 and ends on Jan. 13, lasting about a month longer than the federal program. In 2010, the Affordable Care Act established a federal health insurance marketplace and gave states the right to create their own.
"Last year, through MNsure, we had a record enrollment of 117,000 Minnesotans who enrolled in health care plans," Clark said. "This year, when people go on the exchange, I think they'll see an experience that's similar to what's been there in the past. It's the same interface, but there's some enhancements we've made. One of the big investments we've made is our decision support tool, allowing people to compare different plans."
The enhancement, Clark said, will allow individuals to look at plans side-by-side and use filters to compare such things as premiums, copays, deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums and covered prescriptions.
"Internally, we've made a lot of improvements around our business processes, too," Clark said. "When people call into our customer service office, we think it will be a much more streamlined, efficient experience."
Moving forward, though, Clark said more action is needed to keep the market stable.
"The reinsurance was authorized for two years, and in 2019 the funding runs out," Clark said. "We're waiting for the next Legislature to come in and the new administration to decide what kind of actions they will take to continue this stability. I don't know what form it will take."