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Commerce releases 2021 health insurance rates for Minnesota

10/2/2020 10:00:21 AM

Rates for the individual and small group health insurance plans in Minnesota reflect increasingly stable markets, even as the state continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“In a year of so much uncertainty, stability in Minnesota’s health insurance market is welcome,” added Temporary Commissioner Arnold. “However, many Minnesotans still struggle to afford health insurance, due to a combination of expensive premiums, out-of-pocket costs and COVID-19 related financial challenges.”

In addition, there are also increased health plan options for Minnesotans, including more choice in 2021. This and other findings were released today by the Minnesota Department of Commerce in advance of the open enrollment period beginning November 1.

Individual market consumers will have more choice in 2021. While Blue Plus and Medica will continue to offer statewide plans, Group Health (HealthPartners) and UCare are expanding their service areas and Quartz will be a new insurer in the market. Every county in Minnesota will have at least two insurers offering individual market plans with the majority (all but seven) having three or more insurers. Additionally, every county will have at least 22 separate health insurance plan options available in the individual market.

The small group market serves employers with fewer than 50 full-time workers who purchase insurance for their employees. Individual market rates apply to health insurance plans that Minnesotans purchase for themselves and their families through MNsure, insurance agents or the insurance companies directly. The rates do not affect Minnesotans who are covered by large employer-based insurance or public programs like Medicare, Medicaid and MinnesotaCare.

In the small group market, the 2021 average rate changes range from a 1.60 percent decrease to a 4.99 percent increase. In the individual market, the 2021 average rate changes range from a 0.67 percent increase to a 4.21 percent increase.

Small Group Market Final Rate Changes

2021 Small Group Final Rate Change
Insurer Average Proposed Rate Change 2020-2021 (as calculated by each insurer)
Blue Cross 2.90%
Blue Plus 2.75%
HealthPartners, Inc. 2.49%
HealthPartners Insurance Company 1.81%
Medica Insurance Company 2.53%
PreferredOne Community Health Plan 4.00%
PreferredOne Insurance Company 4.99%
Quartz  -1.60%
Sanford  2.83%
UnitedHealthcare 4.30%

UnitedHealthcare of Illinois, Inc

4.23%


Individual Market Final Rate Changes

2021 Individual Market Final Rates
Insurer Average Proposed Rate Change 2020 — 2021 

(as calculated by each insurer)
Blue Plus 4.21%
Group Health (HealthPartners) 0.67%
Medica Insurance Company 2.42%
PreferredOne Insurance Company 1.05%
Quartz NEW
UCare 1.60%

The actual rate change that a consumer will experience in 2021 can vary depending on factors such as specific plan, geographic rating area and age. 

The Commerce Department website (mn.gov/commerce) has a rate change summary with more details.

Commerce works to stabilize the market

On behalf of Minnesota consumers, the Department of Commerce reviews health insurance rate proposals to make sure they meet actuarial standards and comply with state and federal consumer protection laws. The Minnesota Department of Health evaluates the plans for network adequacy, while MNsure operates the state’s health insurance marketplace where individuals and families can shop, compare and choose health insurance coverage, and receive tax credits if they qualify.

Rate changes for 2021 indicate that Minnesota’s individual health insurance market has stabilized from the dramatic market fluctuations that occurred in 2016 and 2017. This is due, in part, to Minnesota’s reinsurance program, which Commerce helped to implement.

Minnesota enacted its reinsurance program, known as the Minnesota Premium Security Plan, to offset the expense to insurers of high-cost medical claims. Specifically, the program reimburses insurers for 80 percent of an individual’s annual claims costs that fall between approximately $50,000 and $250,000.

“While the Minnesota Premium Security Plan significantly lowers premiums for consumers, it does not address the underlying costs of health care,” said Temporary Commissioner Arnold. 

The work done by Commerce to implement the reinsurance program in 2017 is one tool used by the State to ensure the existence of a stable marketplace for consumers to purchase health coverage.

“Commerce and the entire Walz-Flanagan administration continue to look for policy solutions to provide simpler, more affordable care for Minnesotans,” added Temporary Commissioner Arnold.

Open enrollment begins November 1

Today’s rate announcement comes in advance of the annual open enrollment period, which begins on November 1 and continues through December 22, 2020. Insurance companies, insurance agents and MNsure will have specific plan information available for consumers soon.

Minnesotans can view available 2021 plans through MNsure starting on October 12. MNsure’s shop and compare tool allows consumers to find the plan that offers the best value for their health needs and budget. For the continuity of their own health care, consumers should carefully review a plan’s provider network to see what doctors, clinics and hospitals are included.

MNsure is the only place consumers can access federal tax credits that can reduce premium costs. For 2021 plans, the tax credits are available to households with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, which in 2020 is $51,040 for an individual and $104,800 for a family of four. Additional income guidelines are available on the MNsure website. Approximately 54 percent of current MNsure enrollees are receiving tax credits.

With You Every Day

Wherever you are in Minnesota, the Department of Commerce is with you every day. Whether you’re filling up on gas, purchasing a home, working to reduce energy consumption or rebuilding after a disaster—we are with you, no matter what.

The Minnesota Commerce Department oversees more than 20 regulated industries, ensuring that Minnesota businesses are strong and Minnesota consumers are protected. Our mission is to protect the public interest, advocate for Minnesota consumers, ensure a strong, competitive and fair marketplace, strengthen the state’s economic future and serve as a trusted public resource for consumers and businesses.

Media Contact: Brian Strub, Assistant Director of Communications, brian.strub@state.mn.us, 651-539-1464

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