From: State Senator
Dear friends and neighbors,
It has now been almost three weeks since the opening of public enrollment under MNsure, Minnesota’s branch of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). In those three weeks I have received numerous phone calls and emails from individuals, employers and insurance agents regarding the flaws in this new system, particularly the cost incurred by residents in southeastern Minnesota. I continue to have serious concerns about this program, its rating system and how it is being administered.
During the 2013 legislative session, I did not support the Minnesota healthcare exchange legislation. The bill itself moved quickly through the legislative process and passed the Senate and House floors with many unanswered questions. Minnesotans are now beginning to see the results of what was left unanswered during session.
The State of Minnesota has already spent nearly $150 million on implementing MNsure’s system, but not one cent of that figure has gone to patient care. Rather this money has gone to developing MNSure’s website. My greatest source of concern, however, lies in MNsure’s insurance rates. While many of the constituents I represent were hopeful to find insurance relief under MNsure’s plans, they found the exact opposite. In reality, many found that some plans will cost much more than their current rates. This is particularly true in southeastern Minnesota, where some residents will pay significantly more than Minnesotans in the metro area.
For comparison, a forty-year-old living in the Twin Cities will pay $115 a month for a bronze insurance plan under MNsure, while a 40-year-old living in southeastern Minnesota will pay $238 a month for his or her plan, more than double the rate in the Twin Cities. A small business with five employees in the Twin Cities will pay $1,187 a month under MNsure and the same business in our district will pay $1,947, adding up to $9,120 more a year.
MNsure has also offered five different plans in its exchange in some areas. However, in our area, there are only two plans available. We are now beginning to see what many of us knew all along: MNsure means higher costs and fewer options for many Minnesotans.
I care deeply about the health and well-being of the people that I represent. Unfortunately, as the bill was written, the legislature has little to no control over MNsure or their rates as these rates are not chosen or approved by the legislature. An oversight committee made up of several senators and representatives has been working to improve MNsure and bring problems to light. While the oversight committee cannot make any changes to MNsure, they can make recommendations. I have submitted the concerns I’ve received from several constituents regarding MNsure and its rates to this committee. It is my hope that MNsure will work with the oversight committee to find solutions to these problems.
As always, if you have any questions, concerns or comments, or if I can be helpful in any way, please do not hesitate to contact me at 651-296-5649 or email@example.com. It is an honor to serve as your State Senator.