News & Politics

Minnesota Obamacare Rates to Rise by 60%

Minnesota’s Obamacare exchange is “near collapse” and can only be saved by a massive increase in premiums and allowing the remaining insurance companies to limit enrollment.

The Minnesota exchange recently took a huge hit when Blue Cross Blue Shield exited the exchange due to massive losses. The remaining insurers will be allowed to limit enrollment to avoid even higher losses as well as prevent the overburdening of their network providers.


Minnesota will let the health insurers in its Obamacare market raise rates by at least 50 percent next year, after the individual market there came to the brink of collapse, the state’s commerce commissioner said Friday.

The increases range from 50 percent to 67 percent, Commissioner Mike Rothman’s office said in a statement. Rothman, who regulates the state’s insurers, is an appointee under Governor Mark Dayton, a Democrat. The rate hike follows increases for this year of 14 percent to 49 percent.

“It’s in an emergency situation — we worked hard and avoided a collapse.” Rothman said in a telephone interview. “It’s a stopgap for 2017.”

On average, rates in the state will rise by about 60 percent, said Shane Delaney, a spokesman for MNSure, the state’s marketplace for Obamacare plans. About 250,000 people, or 5 percent of the state’s population, were covered under plans bought on the individual market, including plans bought on the Affordable Care Act markets as well as outside it.

The insurance commissioner says that 63% of Minnesotans who bought Obamacare insurance plans are eligible for subsidies. But that means that thousands of families will see their premiums increase by thousands of dollars a year.

Minnesota State House Speaker Kurt Daudt, a Republican, said the rate increases, along with allowing some insurers to limit enrollment, were creating a crisis.

“The unhealthy combination of massive cost increases and enrollment caps is creating a health care crisis for thousands of Minnesota families,” Daudt said in a statement.

Commissioner Rothman called for changes to the individual marketplace.

“Last year at this time when rates were announced, I said there was a serious need for reform in Minnesota’s individual market,” he said. “This year the need for reform is now without any doubt even more serious and urgent.” He called the rising rates “unsustainable and unfair” and said that people were being “crushed by the heavy burden of these costs.”

We’ll be hearing similar news from other Obamacare exchanges the closer we get to the election. We’ll also be hearing about the administration’s increasingly desperate moves to try to salvage Obamacare — even going so far as breaking the law.

The New York Times reports on the General Accountability Office’s opinion that the administration violated the law by paying insurance companies more than they were owed under the Affordable Care Act in order to keep premiums down.

Where I come from, we call that a bribe:

Federal auditors ruled on Thursday that the Obama administration had violated the law by paying health insurance companies more than allowed under the Affordable Care Act in an effort to hold down insurance premiums.

Some of the money was supposed to be deposited in the Treasury, said auditors from the Government Accountability Office.

The administration “ignored the statutory requirement to collect funds for the Treasury,” even though the requirement was expressed in “explicitly mandatory language,” the accountability office said in a legal opinion.

The Obama administration had defended its interpretation of the law, saying the payments to insurers were needed to help moderate increases in premiums under the Affordable Care Act.

Seven Republican members of Congress, all opposed to the health law, had asked for the legal review and welcomed its findings. “The Obama administration can no longer take money from taxpayers to bail out Obamacare,” said Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming.

Barrasso is incredibly naive. Hasn’t he seen what President Obama is capable of over the last eight years when it comes to circumventing the law? The GAO has no enforcement powers, which means Obama will continue supplying funds to insurance companies any way he can.

But it won’t do any good. Obamacare is near a full-blown meltdown. The end will be signaled when entire counties and perhaps even states are left with no insurance carrier to sell Obamacare policies. From there, it’s a straight line to failure for the program no matter how much taxpayer money Obama wants to waste trying to save it.