MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Eight Minnesota companies are asking for big rate hikes for health insurance premiums in 2016.

Many of the proposed increase are in excess of 50 percent.

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The eight insurance companies who are  requesting premium increases of more than 10 percent in 2016 are Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, Group Health, Health Partners, HMO Minnesota, John Alden, Preferred One, Time and UCare.

The increases are not for policies that you get through your employers but for individual policies purchased through MNsure, or purchased individually from an insurance broker.

The requested rate hike could affect 225,000 people.

Only about 6 percent of Minnesotans  buy individual plans, but the impact on MNsure is much greater. Nearly 25 percent of those enrolled in MNsure have individual plans.

The federal government posts all rate-increases requests that are more than 10 percent online. BCBS of Minnesota is requesting premium hikes of more than 50 percent for nine of its individual products. Blue Cross issued a statement saying the increases reflected “rapidly rising costs” and that their losses in 2015 will be “significantly in excess of the $135 million in losses we experienced in 2014.”

Daniel McLaughlin is a former CEO of HCMC and now teaches at the University of St. Thomas.

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“I think all of the health insurance companies made their best guess on what the costs would be and in some cases they guessed wrong,” he said.

McLaughlin said as Obamacare rolled out, insurance companies, in an effort to capture a large market share, discounted their policies and then got stung when they got a customer base they weren’t expecting.

“More likely they are older and sicker than they thought, and that has been the history throughout the United States right now.”

MNsure declined to comment but Gov. Mark Dayton issued a statement saying the requested increases are “outrageous, given that our state’s health care costs have been increasing by only 3 percent.” And the governor urged the Minnesota Department of Commerce to give the requested increases a “rigorous” review.

After their review process, the Department of Commerce will announce the actual rate increases on Oct. 1.

The insurance companies may not get all they are requesting, but it is widely expected that rates for these policies will go up substantially starting in January 2016.

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If your insurance company is not one of the eight, your rates still could go up. They just won’t go up more than 10 percent.

Esme Murphy