Governor Mark Dayton today detailed his plan to provide a 25-percent health insurance premium rebate to address rising premiums for the 123,000 Minnesotans expected to purchase health insurance on the individual market in 2017, and who are not eligible for a federal tax credit due to their income. The Governor’s plan would instantly provide rebates to Minnesotans, reducing rate increases from 55 percent to 16 percent on average, and reducing monthly premium bills by 25 percent.
Here is the governor’s statement on the plan it its entirety:
“As I have said before, the Affordable Care Act is now causing very difficult financial problems for about two percent of Minnesotans, who purchase their insurance policies through the Individual Market and are above the income eligibility for federal tax credits. The other half of those people in the individual market will find significant financial assistance by purchasing their coverage through Minnesota’s Health Exchange, MNsure, and receiving federal tax credits, which will greatly reduce their insurance costs. Estimates are that as many as 100,000 Minnesotans, who qualify for this financial assistance, have thus far not taken advantage of it. It is crucially important that all Minnesotans, who will be buying their insurance policies in the Individual Market, first contact MNsure representatives, either on-line at MNsure.org or by calling 1-855-3MNSURE. MNsure is ready and able to help you.
“There are still an estimated 123,000 Minnesotans who need help to pay for their health insurance. They are individuals or families who do not qualify for federal tax credits. They are the people, who need immediate help with next year’s health insurance cost increases.
“Our Administration drafted this rebate proposal with the following key objectives. One, we have to be able to start it and administer it under severe time constraints. Those realities greatly limit our options.
“Two, the program has to provide immediate financial assistance to people, who would otherwise face excessive insurance price increases.
“And three, the program can cost no more than the amount of the additional surplus, currently estimated to be $313 million, which under current law, would be added to the existing $1.9 billion Budgeted Reserve Fund, when the next Budget Forecast is released on December 2nd.
“Commissioner Frans, who is one of our outstanding Administration team that has been working on this project around the clock in recent weeks, will shortly walk you through this handout. I emphasize that it is a draft proposal, subject to further refinement in discussions with legislators, insurers, and other experts. Also, if anyone has a better plan, which meets the above three objectives, we are all ears.
“Basically, our proposal would provide monthly rebates in Calendar Year 2017 to people, who are buying Individual Insurance policies and do not qualify for federal tax credits. They would receive monthly rebates of 25 percent of their insurance costs. That state assistance would, in most cases, greatly reduce their 2017 price increases. Overall, our rebates would reduce the 2017 rate increases from an average 55 percent increase to a 16 percent increase. (Note that the rebate would be for 25 percent of policies’ costs, not just the 2017 cost increases.)
“In these final days before the November 8th election, the Affordable Care Act and MNsure have been targets of repeated attacks by politicians, both in Minnesota and nationally, who have never supported those programs, have blocked all efforts to improve them, and are now trying to maximize their political advantages by trashing them.
“They emphasize the ACA’s current problems, while ignoring all of its successes and hoping that everyone will forget them. So here are a couple of reminders.
“Because of the Affordable Care Act, all Americans, those covered by their employers’ insurance, those on public programs, and those buying their individual coverage either through or outside of the Health Exchanges, cannot be denied coverage by the insurance companies, due to their previous or present medical conditions. That is a huge benefit to millions of Minnesotans and other Americans. They are among the citizens most in need of health care coverage, who before the ACA could not obtain their needed insurance.
“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies cannot impose lifetime limits on people’s health care needs. Before the ACA, citizens with chronic medical conditions would reach their insurance policies’ limits and be left on their own. This practice was one of the principal reasons that over half of the personal bankruptcies in the United States were due to people’s uninsured and unaffordable health care costs.
“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, people must be allowed to keep their children insured under their policies until the age of 26. Before the ACA, many of those young people, who were either in college or just beginning their careers, went without any health insurance. If serious medical conditions arose, they were overburdened by unaffordable health care costs.
“The list goes on. Again, these are enormously important benefits to millions of Americans. They have saved countless lives and lifetime savings. The politicians, who want to eliminate the Affordable Care Act rather than improve it, fail to offer any comprehensive alternative to it. Instead, they vaguely outline their same old bromides of “free insurance markets” and their versions of “tax credits” for those with high enough incomes to use them.
“Bottom line, they want to force us back into the same old health care mess, where we’re all on our own, scrambling to decipher competing insurance policies, to understand the fine print that will later be used to deny coverage for unforeseeable health conditions, and to pay more and more for less and less coverage.
“The destruction of the Affordable Care Act would benefit some very powerful monied interests and their political allies, but it would create far worse problems for most Minnesotans and most Americans. But the ACA must be significantly improved. It is essential that next year the US Congress and the Minnesota Legislature set aside their political talking points and attack ads, and work cooperatively together to solve these current problems and restore the promise of the ACA: to make good health care available and affordable for all Minnesotans and all Americans.”
And here is a Fact Sheet.