MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota’s health insurance rates are “stable” going into 2020, according to the state’s Department of Commerce. 

A report released Tuesday shows proposed rate changes in 2020 for individual plans range from a 20% decrease to a 0.18% increase. Rate changes for small group plans range from a 9.43% decrease to an 8.87% increase. 

This report comes ahead of the open enrollment period beginning Nov. 1 for 2020 coverage plans. These rates do not affect those under large employer plans or public programs. 

“Rates for health insurance plans in the individual and small group markets for 2020 indicate that Minnesota has stable health insurance markets. However, many Minnesotans still struggle to afford health insurance, due in part to the combination of expensive premiums and out-of-pocket costs,” Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley said in a statement.

Minnesota DFL lawmakers have also chimed in on the report, emphasizing that while stable rates are promising, the larger issue of affordability still remains. 

“The rates announced today are an improvement, but the fact remains that health care remains far too expensive for Minnesotans, and they deserve solutions to make it more affordable,” Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester), chair of the House Health and Human Services Finance Division, said in a statement. “Access to affordable health care is a basic pillar for economic security, but with high premiums, high deductibles, and high prices for prescription drugs, this is anything but a certainty for many people.”

This stability is shift from market fluctuations in 2016 and 2017, according to the Department of Commerce. Part of that change can be attributed to the state’s reinsurance program, which reimburses insurers for high-cost claims. 

“The work done by Commerce to implement the reinsurance program in 2017 is one tool used by the State to ensure the existence of a stable marketplace for consumers to purchase health coverage,” Kelley said in the statement.  

The report also shows increased statewide coverage. In 2020, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota will offer individual coverage options in all 87 Minnesota counties. The insurer will join Medica in offering plans across the state.

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