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Dayton calls for early release of 2015 MNsure rates, by Oct. 1 if possible

Republicans have been calling for rate information before the November election, believing that they’ll be higher next year.

Gov. Mark Dayton has asked the MNsure board to make all efforts to release the 2015 health insurance rates by Oct. 1, so families and businesses will have more time to make decisions on which plans to consider.

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The governor, though, said there are still some hoops to go through before that is possible, because of the state privacy laws.

Critics of MNsure and the Affordable Care Act have been calling for early release of the coming year’s rates, because they believe they will be higher than this year. They wanted the information made public before Nov. 4, when Dayton is running for re-election.

And on Monday, Dayton had said release of the rate information before the election could be a problem:

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“I think they are going to be so badly distorted for political purposes that I don’t think they will shed any light for consumers,” Dayton said, according to the Star Tribune. “I don’t think it is going to shed any light on it. It is going to add a lot of heat to the lambasting that goes on.”

But in a letter today to the MNsure Oversight Committee members, Dayton said:

If all the plans agree, the rate information will be made public around October 1, 2014 — 45 days before open enrollment begins. Last year, this same information was made public 25 days before open enrollment began.

“Making the rate information public before open enrollment begins would provide families and businesses additional time and information to help them make informed decisions regarding their health coverage options in 2015.

Under the process, the health insurance firms have already submitted initial proposed rates for 2015, which must now be formally reviewed.

After final rates are set, the state has to get consent from the health plans to transmit the data, still considered non-public at that point, to MNsure. Then the information will be formatted for use on MNsure’s website, which was plagued with problems last year.

The governor said the Oct. 1 date could be changed, “if unforeseen complications develop.”

He said the Commerce Commission must review the rates “to ensure Minnesotans continue to benefit from the lowest possible rates with each of the plans.”