More MNSure Fallout: 103,000 Minnesotans cannot keep that plan they liked after all

doctor patient photo

According to MPR, “Minnesota’s largest health insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota has decided to stop selling health plans to individuals and families in Minnesota starting next year. The insurer explained extraordinary financial losses drove the decision.”

This means that 103,000 Minnesotans who bought a policy in what is called “the individual market” cannot keep those policies in 2017. They will have to look elsewhere. About 20,000 of those Minnesotans bought their plan on MNsure, most with the help of tax subsidies, but the vast majority bought their plans in the rapidly declining individual market through a broker.

In the article University of Minnesota health economist Roger Feldman said the change was “a major blow to Minnesota’s already troubled individual market.”

This hits entrepreneurs and other self-employed people hard and follows the exit of major insurers from Minnesota and around the nation as Obamacare becomes imbedded as the law of the land. It also hurts the brokerage community which has less and less to sell in Minnesota.

Recall what the purpose of Obamacare and MNsure was: to bring down health care costs and increase access to health care. Not only are health care costs continuing to rise but many Americans are having a hard time accessing health care. Coverage may have increased among the previously uninsured, but that is not the same as access to care.

Then there is the cost to taxpayers the impact on local government.

MNsure is still not functioning properly, hundreds of millions of dollars later, and counties around the state, which are the front line for carrying out state welfare policies, are having to dramatically staff up to deal with that dysfunctionality. The MNsure software does not work; the admiration is being done by hand, telephone and paper. In 2016.

According to the Star Tribune, “(w)orking with a MNsure IT system that’s still cumbersome, county officials across Minnesota say they must hire more people or shift existing staff to handle the growing workload in the state’s public health insurance programs. Last month, Hennepin County proposed hiring 92 more workers as the state starts moving more cases into the MNsure system this year and requires county workers to perform more eligibility checks on those getting coverage.”

And recall that the President and Gov. Dayton promised that you could keep your doctor and keep your health plan if you liked it.

How is that working out?