No progress (yet) toward a quick MNsure cost fix

Published 10:14 am Wednesday, October 26, 2016

By Rachel E. Stassen-Berger

St. Paul Pioneer Press

ST. PAUL — Gov. Mark Dayton on Tuesday sent a letter to legislative leaders asking them to come up with a plan to help those facing double-digit health insurance price increases.

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The DFLer’s letter underscored the request he announced last week: He would like them to draft an agreeable solution by Nov. 1, just as those who get their health insurance through the individual market will have to start deciding their 2017 coverage plans.

Dayton said he would await for their response before taking further action.

In Minnesota, Republicans and Democrats have expressed alarm at health insurance company’s approved plans to increase the premiums they charge to those buying coverage on the individual market.

About 5 percent of Minnesotans buy their health insurance that way, and many of those are eligible for tax subsidies to do so. The rest of Minnesotans get their health coverage through their employers or government plans.

As of Monday, Rep. Nick Zerwas, a Republican health care expert from Elk River, said he had not been involved in any discussions in response to the governor’s Friday request for a quick solution.

He did say it would be a challenge to think that years of work to come up with a solution would be solved by the governor’s “arbitrary Nov. 1 deadline.”

“That being said, I fully believe we should act quickly, we should try to provide relief for Minnesotans,” he said.

House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said House Democrats are working on a “concrete, practical, short-term solution” that would offer rebates to any Minnesotan who buys health care on the individual market to keep their payments to 10 percent of their incomes. Senate Democrats last week proposed a similar plan.

Dayton proposed spending about $300 million to help the 120,000 or so facing massive increases who earn too much to qualify for tax credits.
—Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.