ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Help is coming for thousands of Minnesotans hit with skyrocketing health care premiums.

The Minnesota House and Senate passed an emergency aid package Thursday and sent it to the governor. Late Thursday evening, Governor Mark Dayton signed it into law.

The Minnesota House and Senate passed that rescue rebate for 125,000 Minnesotans hit with huge monthly premium hikes. But it took months to reach agreement, while Minnesota families worried about what to do.

Self-employed families are facing monthly insurance premiums of $2,500 a month or more. They make too much to get tax subsidies, but too little to be able to afford it.

After months of bickering, lawmakers are passing emergency aid.

Fighting back tears, the Senate architect of the rescue package spoke directly to families facing economic distress.

“To the farms and small business owners, to the entrepreneurs on our main streets who are worried, we are listening.  We are doing our very best to get you help today,” Health and Human Services Chair Sen. Michelle Benson said.

The bill includes an instant 25 percent rebate that insurance companies will deduct from monthly bills. And it allows, for the first time in Minnesota, a for-profit HMO to expand coverage choices. It’s a move denounced by Democrats.

“They either charge more in premiums or they pay fewer claims, both of which are harmful to patients,” Sen. John Marty of Roseville said.

Republicans blame the jaw-dropping rate hikes on Obamacare and MNsure.

“And so today we are sitting here trying to right the ship. The ship that was sailing along fine until government intervened. It wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t sinking like it is now,” Sen. Carly Nelson of Rochester said.

That drew a sharp retort from Democrats, including a new DFL Senator who’s a doctor.

“To narrate that health care was fully covered and idyllic in Minnesota 10 years ago, before the government intervened and destroyed it, is a false narrative,” Sen. Matt Klein of Mendota Heights said.

The emergency relief bill passed overwhelmingly in the House and the Senate with bipartisan support. Governor Mark Dayton signed the bill Thursday night.

So how soon will the emergency relief be available to the people who need it? We’re told it will take a number of weeks for the insurance companies to re-tool computers and billing practices.

But the 25 percent rebate will be applied to monthly premium bills by April, and possibly sooner.

Pat Kessler

Comments (6)
  1. Ben Boniff says:

    W O W
    My premium had jumped by $731. a month for family. So I would still pay and increase of $401 and deductible jump to $6800 per person AFTER this farce.

    Go rot Obamacare lovers …. and say thank you to us self employed people whom are paying your way.

  2. Real americans told you this was coming, years ago, but you wouldnt listen, you just called us racists…..

    1. I’d call you classist myself. Premiums skyrocketed because insurance companies were unable to keep insurance a private club for people who didn’t need it. Insurance companies claim to be nonprofits but pulled out of Minnesota because they didn’t make enough money with Obamacare. That’s a serious ideological disconnect.

      Part of the problem is healthcare providers can charge whatever they want for services. If you’ve ever read your care statements you’ll see that insurance companies only pay about a third of what providers charge.

  3. Suggesting that the system was better before Obamacare is lying. Before Obamacare it was impossible for many people who had been sick before and people who were too old for their parents’ insurance but to young to afford their own policies to have insurance at all. People used to have to lie to their doctors to avoid having an illness appear on their record because if their policy was ever cancelled, it would be impossible for them to get insurance again due to the ban on preexisting conditions. I knew many people working in retail whose hours were intentionally kept below the threshold to qualify for company insurance but who only made $10 an hour so they could not afford an individual policy. They were paying Russian roulette.

    Obamacare wasn’t perfect but it made insurance available to people who had been sick before and people who were unable to get insurance through their jobs. Anyone that says otherwise is blind to their own privilege.

  4. David Siegel says:

    So the solution to the disastrous ObamanoCare is to send hush money to those most directly damaged? Typical statist solution.

  5. Jeff Mannino says:

    Mn was easily the most diverse and generous with healthcare choices before OBcare. All governor dayton did was put the engine that was OBcare in fullthrottle by shoving MnSure down our necks.