State officials ask insurers to reveal premium details early

Two state government agencies are asking companies selling health plans on the new online insurance exchange, MNsure, to give Minnesotans an early peak at how much policies will cost when they go into effect.

Right now, the rates are kept secret until their effective date — Oct. 1 — the same day MNsure goes live to help Minnesotans compare and enroll in those policies. But Minnesota's commerce and health departments are asking the plans to change the effective date so the rates can be revealed about a month early, on Sept. 6.

The state commerce and health departments say releasing the rates before MNsure goes live would give consumers and small businesses more time to understand their options.

"Consumers need to have prices, whether you're buying health insurance or buying a lawn mower," said Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights. "It's one of the first factors you want to know."

The trade group representing Minnesota's health insurance plans says the carriers are considering the request.

Dannette Coleman of Minnetonka-based Medica, one of companies that will sell plans on MNsure, says Medica will try to meet the new deadline.

"We are absolutely considering this, and we feel very optimistic that we can find a way to make this work," she said. "So now it's really working out the details and the timeline."

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