Minnesota regulator: Insurance market in dire situation

AP News
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Posted: Sep 30, 2016 1:58 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota's top health insurance regulator says the state's individual market is in "an emergency situation."

Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman said Friday that all seven companies offering plans through the state's exchange or directly to consumers were prepared to leave the market for 2017 following a major insurer's exit earlier this year. He said big rate increases were the tradeoff to convince the remaining insurers to stay.

Premium increases finalized this week range from a 50 percent average hike to a 67 percent jump on average, mirroring increases nationwide. But Rothman called that a temporary fix and said law changes are needed to prevent a market collapse in Minnesota.

It's a dramatic reversal for the state, where officials touted the lowest rates in the nation just three years ago.

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This story has been updated to reflect that seven companies, not five, had at one point been prepared to leave the market for 2017.