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MNSure unveils huge rate increases for 2016

Our blood pressure just went through the roof. Tom Scheck at MPR News reports health coverage through MNsure will get a lot more expensive for many people in 2016: “Average rate increases for individual and family coverage will range from 14 percent to 49 percent compared to the 2015, the agency said Thursday. The highest average rate increase — 49 percent — will come from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, the state’s largest insurer. Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman said when Blue Cross pushed to raise rates by more than 50 percent in June, other insurers wanted similar hikes. The rate hikes by health plans are ‘unacceptably high,’ Rothman told reporters.”
Related: Gov. Dayton’s statement on the increased rates

Kevin Duchschere at the Star Tribune is reporting that after a two-hour-plus meeting between St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and St. Paul Black Lives Matter leader Rashad Turner, the group will demonstrate, but not interfere, with the Twin Cities Marathon this weekend: “Black Lives Matter officials said Thursday that city officials listened to their concerns about the police, which was the group’s goal. ‘I am happy that we have a chance to have this dialogue,’ Coleman said. … ‘Our voices are being listened to,’ Turner said, after the meeting.”

Valory Schoenecker at the Pioneer Press shares the positive news that the water level of White Bear Lake is finally on the rebound: “The most recent water level, recorded Sept. 18, was at 921.5 feet, which is about 2.5 feet higher than the record low. The latest level, though, is still about 5 feet lower than the lake’s record high, which occurred in 1943. ‘I’m optimistic (the lake level) will continue to increase slow and steady,’ said Mark Sather, White Bear Lake city manager.”

Frank Rajkowski at the St. Cloud Times shares the continuing legacy of Dick Putz, a central Minnesota athletic booster and mentor, who passed away 25 years ago: “’He really epitomized everything that was great about sports,’ [NFL official Mike] Spanier said. ‘He wanted to see the games played fairly. He took a lot of pride when the games went well. He just wanted to see everyone involved get the opportunity to be successful.’ ”

In other news:

‘My wife! My wife!’ Woman run over, killed at St. Paul intersection. [Star Tribune]

Michael Rietmulder gets an exam from dentist and big game hunter Walter Palmer. [City Pages]

There goes my smile. Will Wright: I’m a snazzy dresser in the land of 10,000 slobs. [Star Tribune]

Angry baby Paul Molitor yells at Jose Ramirez to “Get the f$#& off the field” [Deadspin]

Curl Up & Dye: The ultimate crowdsourced map of punny businesses in America [Atlas Obscura]

Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Tim Smith on 10/01/2015 - 02:53 pm.

    Squarely at the Governors feet

    Dayton and Rothman’s comments regarding the premium increases are predictably political and extremely laughable. They had a hand in causing this mess and are not surprised where we are today. They knew it from the start as it is a win/win situation for liberal dems. They brow beat the carriers to lower rates so the Gov could brag we have the lowest rates in the country and now his selfish re-election strategy has come home to roast after he won a second term. This situation works in his favor now as he will relentlessly bash and blame insurance companies so single payer looks better to the masses. His liberal supporters will nod their heads and follow.

    If these increases are so excessive why did Rothman approve them after months of review? He signed off on them for crying out loud. Way to beat down the middle class some more boys.

    • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 10/01/2015 - 04:02 pm.

      What’s wrong with single payer?

      You may be right about some sort of “jawboning” to get carriers to lower initial rates for MNSure. But I’d be surprised if the carriers didn’t come up with this on their own. It looks to me that that was what PreferredOne did in 2014 and it pulled out of MNSure for 2015 rather than market through the exchanges.
      But don’t forget, MNSure only works for those who qualify and want to pay after tax-credit premiums.

      State regulation of insurance companies is really a joke or a misnomer since the primary purpose is to ensure that the insurance companies remain honest enough to be solvent to pay their claims. It pays lip service to consumer protection but in my experience, most insurance policies are more of the “Monty Python “no pay claim” coverage type. You’re on your own to negotiate a policy, get a decent rate and then get a claim paid if you have one.

      Insurance is a necessary evil in our capitalist society. But it really only applies to risk management. You can’t really call a system which is designed to finance inevitable payments for doctor visits and hospitalization “insurance”. That’s why we have a hybrid “social insurance” like worker comp., unemployment com. and Medicare that subsidize people against the risk of job loss, injury or medical care after 65. “Single payer” is the same thing. Or maybe Medicare for everyone.

  2. Submitted by joe smith on 10/01/2015 - 05:36 pm.

    I agree with Tim, this is a greater play for single payer by not only Dayton and MN but Obama and America. No one who can add and knows a small amount about business ever thought the numbers added up. Not having a separate pool for folks with pre existing conditions was going to drive up costs alone. When you add all the subsidies for thousands and thousands the price of those actually paying had to go up. Now the liberals can say we tried to fix a broken system and single payer is our only hope. Sadly many will go along with it and full socialized medicine, single payer will be here.
    The saddest part of this whole thing (besides single payer) is when you doubted the Affordable Care Act you were called a racist. Folks said the only reason you opposed Obamacare was you were against Obama. That was very bothersome because it had nothing to do with Obama and everything to do with math.

  3. Submitted by Tim Smith on 10/01/2015 - 05:38 pm.

    Couldnt disagree more

    Wrong with single payer? Look at the VA and billions Medicare loses in fraud every year for starters. No industry is more highly regulated than insurance. Honesty goes both ways and Dayton n Rothman have been very dishonest with this process.

  4. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 10/01/2015 - 07:46 pm.

    Socialised medicine

    Having “socialized medicine” is not a substantive objection. Medicare was called ‘socialist” in 1965 when it was opposed by the AM and the right wing. It works well and most people over 65 would never change it. I suppose there’s fraud in every US system. Much of the fraud in Medicare is the doctors who abuse it. Corporate America was built on fraud and corruption.

    The biggest complaint I hear about the VA is the fraud and waste which ends up not serving the veterans it was designed to serve. I’m not a veteran but my brother is, so I hear all about it from one who is affected. I suspect that it a function of the way the VA is set up with finance and medical services all combined under one entity.

    A government financed health care system like Medicare works well on the other hand. Obamacare has lowered costs as it promised too. The insurance regulators seem to be the wink link in the system. They can only rubber stamp cost increases dreamed up by insurance companies who cannot acquire real estate and build office buildings fast enough to keep up with the piles of money pouring in.

    “No industry more highly regulated than insurance?” How about banking and financial services? All highly regulated, all rife with fraud and abuse. Insurance is only regulated by the industry after it was finally nailed by the government for antitrust price fixing. Then it got a right-wing Congress in 1946 to re-regulate on a state by state basis. Price fixing is now legalized. Insurance companies love their friendly regulators.

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