New insurance exchange premiums come into view

8:10 PM, Sep 11, 2013   |    comments
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ST PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesotans got their first look Friday at the health plans that will be sold on the state's health insurance exchange, known as MNsure.

A total of 141 different private insurance plans will be offered through the exchange, with as many as five different carriers competing for business in the Twin Cities area and much of eastern Minnesota.

The actual premiums will vary depending on income, age, smoking status and where the customer lives. But on average those premiums will be less expensive in Minnesota than in any other state with its own health exchange.

Blue Cross Blue Shield, Group Health Inc., Medica of Wisconsin, PreferredOne and UCare will sell plans to individuals through the exchange.  Blue Cross Blue Shield, Medica of Wisconsin and PreferredOne will also sell to the small group market used by small business owners.

The plans fall into the categories of Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum, with bronze being the least expensive and Platinum being the most costly upfront.  The costlier plan have lower out-of-pocket co-pays and lower deductibles.

Rate information is not available yet for the 40 states that will rely on the federal health insurance exchange, so Minnesota can't make the claim yet that it's got the lowest premiums in the nation.

Details on the rates are available at this link on the MN Dept of Commerce website , and details about the provider networks set up by the companies can be found through this link at the MN Dept of Health website.

The rates begin at $90 for an individual plan for a 25-year-old non-smoker, and go up from there depending on age, smoking status and what part of the where the customer lives. In some regions of the state rates are higher, based on the number of companies competing and access to services.

Consumers won't know their exact rates until the plug in their exact income and other information at the time of enrollment, which begins October 1st. That's because many customers will apply for discounts provided by tax credits available through the Affordable Care Act.

Those who make less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level will qualify for some type of discount.  That threshold is currently $46,000 for an individual, and $94,000 for a family of four.

Those who make less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level will qualify for even lower premiums by enrolling in Minnesota Care.  Those who earn less than 133 percent of the poverty line will qualify for Medical Assistance, which is Minnesota's version of Medicaid.

(Copyright KARE 2013. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewriten or redistribued.)

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