Health care law change could affect 744K residents

Published 9:10 am Wednesday, December 14, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS — A new report says more than one in five Minnesotans under age 65 had health problems last year that would give them a personal stake in the debate over repealing and replacing the federal health care law.

The California-based Kaiser Family Foundation estimates about 744,000 Minnesota residents under 65 would be blocked from coverage if insurance companies reverted to rules that were in place before the Affordable Care Act.

The estimate is much larger than the number of people with health problems who’ve found commercial coverage under the health law, because it includes those with other types of insurance, such as coverage through employer groups.

Email newsletter signup

Republican lawmakers in Washington, D.C., have proposed repealing the health care law. Several replacement plans would direct people lacking health insurance to coverage through high-risk pools.

“We don’t know a lot of the details yet of what a repeal-and-replace plan is going to look like,” said Cynthia Cox, a researcher with the foundation.

Cox added that high-risk pools may be able to protect people with preexisting condition differently than the ACA, but she said it will depend on funding.

“If the high-risk pools aren’t adequately funded … (coverage might have) much higher premiums or exclusions based on your preexisting condition,” she said.

According to the report, the rate with people with declinable preexisting conditions in Minnesota is 22 percent, making it the lowest in the nation. West Virginia’s rate was highest among states at 36 percent.

Cox said the estimates include people with health problems without coverage through individual policies, because they might eventually need access to the market due to a job change or early retirement.