Lynn Blewett on Health Affairs Blog: How Minnesota Is Stepping Up to Preserve its Individual Market
April 19, 2017:
In a new piece on the Health Affairs Blog, SHADAC Principal Investigator Lynn Blewett explains how Minnesota has emerged as an active state in terms of moving ahead on health care reform. Dr. Blewett's post discusses the state's decision to cap marketplace enrollment as well as the Minnesota legislature's move to pass a premium relief rebate bill.
This piece builds on Dr. Blewett's December blog post about the steps Minnesota is taking to preserve its individual insurance market, particularly in response to the decision of Blue Cross Blue Shield to leave the market.
How Minnesota is Supporting its Individual Market
Dr. Blewett gives an overview of the Health Insurance Premium Relief bill, including the requirements an individual must meet to be eligible for a rebate. Because it is estimated that between 50,000 and 70,000 individuals did not return to the market to purchase coverage, it is expected that Minnesota's uninsured rates will increase by about 20 percent. Reasons for this likely decrease in the number of people purchasing coverage in the state's individual market are attributable to several factors, according to Dr. Blewett. Among these factors are the limited publicity and outreach that followed a highly political rebate agreement, which may have left consumers unaware or confused about the details of the bill. Another factor could have been the apparent increase in employer-sponsored insurance provided by small employers in Minnesota. Dr. Blewett anticipates that the impact of the reduced number of people purchasing coverage through the individual market will be limited, at least in the short term.
The blog also elaborates on Minnesota's Premium Security Plan, which was unable to move out of the state's House or Senate but discussed the source of state funds and contingency language related to Minnesota's 1332 waiver application. An overview of these topics is available in the full post.
Next Steps for Minnesota
A key issue moving forward is the lack of committment by the health plans to reducing premiums and establishing options throughout the state. Dr. Blewett notes that if the plans do not significantly address these concerns, the public option will be "back on the table." MinnesotaCare is a well-liked option, so it might still be a viable option if the private sector is unable to meet the needs of all Minnesotans purchasing coverage in the private market.
The State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) is a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and a part of the Health Policy and Management Division of the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota.