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Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, Published October 29 2013

Letter: Minnesota’s flawed MNSure continues to fail Minnesotans

It has now been four weeks since the opening of public enrollment under MNsure, Minnesota’s branch of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). In those three weeks, I have received numerous phone calls and emails from individuals, employers and insurance agents regarding the flaws in this new system, particularly the cost incurred to residents in northwestern Minnesota.

I continue to have serious concerns about this program, its rating system and how it is being administered.

During the 2013 legislative session, I did not support the Minnesota health care exchange legislation. The bill itself moved quickly through the legislative process and passed the Senate and House floors with many unanswered questions. Minnesotans are now beginning to see the results of what was left unanswered during the session.

The state of Minnesota has already spent nearly $150 million on implementing MNsure’s system, but not one cent of that figure has gone to patient care. Rather this money has gone to developing MNSure’s website.

My greatest source of concern, however, lies in MNsure’s insurance rates. While many of the constituents I represent were hopeful to find insurance relief under MNsure’s plans, they found the exact opposite. In reality, many found that some plans will cost much more than their current rates.

For comparison, a small business with five employees in the Twin Cities will pay $1,788 a month for a platinum insurance plan under MNsure, while that same small business in our district will pay $2,082 a month for their plan. These costs will add up to $3,528 more a year.

I care deeply about the health and well-being of the people whom I represent. Unfortunately, as the bill was written, the Legislature has little to no control over MNsure or their rates because these rates are not chosen or approved by the Legislature. An oversight committee made up of several senators and representatives has been working to improve MNsure and bring problems to light. While the oversight committee cannot make any changes to MNsure, they can make recommendations.

I have submitted the concerns I’ve received from several constituents regarding MNsure and their rates to this committee. It is my hope that MNsure will work with the oversight committee to find solutions to these problems.

Republican state Sen. Ingebrigtsen is from Alexandria, Minn.