Health Insurance Waiting Game for Minnesotans

By Julie Edgar
WebMD Health News

Reviewed by Lisa Zamosky

Aug. 2, 2013 -- More than 1 million Minnesotans are expected to buy health insurance on the state's health insurance Marketplace, MNSure. But they may not know what plans are available and what their premiums might be until enrollment begins on Oct. 1.

Most of the Affordable Care Act goes into effect Jan. 1, 2014. That's when coverage for a health plan purchased in the fall will take effect.

Other states have posted the rates insurance carriers will charge for individuals, families, and groups. But Minnesota law prevents the state from disclosing rates and the names of the carriers that will participate in MNSure. The Department of Commerce says nine companies have applied, and they include Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, HealthPartners, Medica, PreferredOne, and UCare.

In late July, state insurance regulators asked the companies to release rates voluntarily on Sept. 6 to give people time to understand their choices.

Insurance companies say the law protects them from unfair competition.

Under the Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010, each state must have a health insurance Marketplace by Oct. 1. Most Americans will be required to have health insurance starting Jan. 1, 2014. Minnesota is one of 17 states, along with Washington, D.C., that will run its own Marketplace.

SOURCES: John Pollard, legislative and communications director, Minnesota Management and Budget.Tina Armstrong, health reform coordinator, Minnesota Department of Commerce.Minneapolis Star Tribune.Minnesota Departments of Health and Commerce.

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