8 health plans propose premium hikes for next year

Published 10:12 am Thursday, June 4, 2015

ST. PAUL — Eight Minnesota health plans have proposed big premium increases for 2016, ranging from 11 to 74 percent, drawing an angry response from Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday.

For example, Blue Cross and Blue Shield wants to raise prices on some of its plans by 50 to 58 percent. The rate increases are only proposals for now and must be approved by state regulators before they can be finalized.

“The proposed rate increases from Minnesota’s health insurers are outrageous, given that our state’s health care costs have been increasing by only 3 percent,” Dayton said in a statement. “They underscore the need for a rigorous review of those proposed rates by the Minnesota Department of Commerce before they become final on Oct. 1.”

Mark Dayton

Mark Dayton

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Some of the policies will be offered through MNsure, the state health insurance exchange. The proposed increases do not include any potential government subsidies paid to offset the costs.

Under the federal Affordable Care Act, rate increase requests of 10 percent or more must be made public months before approval decisions. The proposed rates were posted Wednesday on the federal website healthcare.gov.

Insurers can’t use past losses to justify rate increases; hikes must be based on projected future claims.

Health plans in other states have also proposed hefty increases. The governor’s office pointed to proposed hikes of 55 to 100 percent for certain plans in some other states.