8/30/2016 9:30:00 AM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Shane Delaney
Director of Communications and Marketing
On Thursday, September 1, preliminary health insurance rate increases proposed by Minnesota health insurance companies will be released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on the federal RateReview.HealthCare.gov website. This preliminary information will provide a snapshot of possible 2017 health insurance premiums in the individual market.
MNsure does not play a role in the rate review or regulatory process; however, MNsure is reminding Minnesotans about three important cost-saving opportunities that can help lessen, or completely eliminate, large premium increases.
"All across the country we are seeing health insurance premiums increase," said CEO Allison O'Toole. "I will find out on Thursday, along with every other Minnesotan, what kind of premium increases we can expect in the state for 2017, but in the meantime, I want to make sure Minnesotans know their options to help lessen or eliminate any increase we may see."
1. Federal tax credits only available through MNsure
MNsure is the only place Minnesotans can take advantage of exclusive advanced premium tax credits that can lower monthly health insurance premiums. These tax credits act like instant discounts off monthly insurance premiums.
Two out of three MNsure enrollees currently receive tax credits, but many Minnesotans are missing out on this cost-savings opportunity. The Minnesota Department of Health reports as many as 107,000 Minnesotans currently qualify for tax credits but are not receiving them because they did not enroll in coverage through MNsure. A new analysis by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows enrollees in marketplaces like MNsure will largely be shielded from big rate hikes because they'll be eligible for larger tax credit amounts.
"Minnesotans who qualify for tax credits but who are not enrolled through MNsure are literally leaving money on the table," said O'Toole. "The average Minnesota family who qualifies for tax credits is currently receiving $209 every single month to help pay their insurance premium. That's real money."
2. Side-by-side comparison shopping
Only on MNsure can Minnesotans compare plans from multiple health insurance companies all in one place. Minnesotans who compare plans on MNsure are often able to find comparable plans at reduced prices, as well as see all costs associated with a particular plan, such as co-pays, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.
"Every year when insurance companies send out renewal notices with that premium increase information, there is a sense of sticker shock for the consumer," said O'Toole. "However, once they go to MNsure and shop around, they can often find a plan that is very comparable at a cheaper price."
3. Free in-person assistance
All across the state, MNsure has /help/find-assister/index.jspcertified brokers and navigators who can provide free, in-person enrollment help. MNsure-certified brokers and navigators can complete an application with the consumer and let them know what kind of cost savings they qualify for. MNsure brokers can go one step further and help with actual plan selection.
"If we've learned anything in the past three years, it's that health insurance is still confusing and picking a plan can be a real challenge for Minnesotans," said O'Toole. "These MNsure assisters provide expert advice free of charge and will literally do the MNsure application with you, making sure you get the best plan at the best possible price. There is no need to fear the process when working with a MNsure-certified broker or navigator."
The 2017 open enrollment period begins November 1, 2016, and ends on January 31, 2017. Small group employers and Minnesotans eligible for Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare can enroll year-round. As of February 2016, 96 percent of Minnesotans have health coverage—the highest percentage in state history.