Premiums going down for Minnesotans who buy own health insurance

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

An AP story says, “Premiums are going down next year for Minnesotans who buy health insurance on their own. State regulators announced final rates for the individual health care market on Tuesday. The average decreases between health care plans range from a 7.4 percent drop to a 27.7 percent decrease. The dropping prices were expected after insurance companies indicated they would drop rates in preliminary filings this spring. … It’s the second year of stable or dropping health care premiums after Minnesota lawmakers created a $549 million reinsurance fund to help control costs.”

Stribber Stephen Montemayor tells us,A county attorney who was asked to look further into the Minnesota DFL Party’s investigative report of a domestic abuse claim against U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison said Tuesday that he would not do so without an additional review by law enforcement. Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal, who received the report Monday from the DFL, forwarded it to Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom to avoid a conflict of interest given Ellison’s son serves on the Minneapolis City Council. But in a letter to Segal Tuesday, Backstrom wrote that his office would not look at the report by the Lockridge Grindal Nauen law firm and would only review findings that come from a law enforcement agency.”

The St. Cloud Times writes, “By making a detailed analysis of the Jacob Wetterling investigation, a former FBI agent said, the Stearns County sheriff distorted evidence in a case that could have been solved only by a confession. Retired FBI agent Steve Gilkerson spoke at a news conference Tuesday called to rebut statements made Sept. 20 by Stearns County Sheriff Don Gudmundson as the county’s investigative files into the 11-year-old’s 1989 abduction and murder were released. … The conference was not an official FBI statement.”

KARE-TV reminds us, “It used to be, if you’re making a large purchase online, you could save a lot of money by avoiding sales tax if you buy from a site that doesn’t have a physical store in Minnesota. But that has now changed. … [tax partner Mark Bakko at Baker Tilly] says companies like Best Buy and Target are likely thrilled with the change, because it eliminates an advantage their competitors held over them. But it could be a real burden for smaller businesses that will now have to file taxes in 35 different states that all have different rules.”

Says Mikkel Pates for the  (Alexandria) Echo Press, “Members of the Ashby Farmers Cooperative Elevator soon will have to vote to dissolve and sell or lease its assets, while the scale of the former manager’s fraud has now grown to $4.9 million. Longtime general manager Jerry Hennessey, who has yet to be charged, spent some of that money on big-game hunting trips, including $500,000 on taxidermy alone, an attorney says.”

For the Strib, Randy Johnson says, “Good news, college hockey fans. The Oct. 27 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame game between Minnesota and North Dakota in Las Vegas will be available on an additional three cable outlets in Minnesota. MidcoSN, which holds the broadcast rights to the game, announced Tuesday that the Comcast, Charter and Mediacom cable systems will carry the game in Minnesota.”

The AP says, “Authorities have arrested a Minnesota mother who was on the run and have located four of her five missing children. Police say 39-year-old Izetta Cooley and the four children were found at a home in Moorhead Tuesday. Officials say Cooley was arrested on a felony kidnapping warrant from Mower County. She’s being held in the Clay County Jail. One child, a 17-year-old boy, is still missing.”

Kirsti Marohn of MPR says, “For decades, the city of Randall, Minn., just northwest of Little Falls, relied on two wells to supply drinking water to its 650 residents. Then, in 2015, a routine water sample the city sent to the state health department tested above the safe drinking level for nitrates. … And Randall is not alone: A new report from the national nonprofit Environmental Working Group says the problem of nitrate contamination in drinking water is hitting small, rural communities like Randall the hardest — and they are the ones least able to afford treatment costs.”

In the PiPress Christopher Magan says, “Two Twin Cities chiropractors will spend years in prison for separate multi-million dollar insurance fraud schemes. The Minnesota Commerce Department announced Tuesday that Adam John Burke, 34, of Minneapolis, received a 90-month prison term and Preston Ellard Forthun, 40, of Bloomington, was sentenced to 60 months. … The chiropractors defrauded insurers by using ‘runners’ to solicit auto accident victims to get treated at their clinics. Forthun and Burke knew the ‘runners’ were paying kickbacks to the patients they recruited.”

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