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Medical care is still expensive, but Minnesota is doing better than most states keeping a handle on rising premiums for people who buy insurance on their own.

While people in other states are seeing double-digit requests for increases in health insurance premiums for 2019, we aren’t.

That’s because the state is helping Minnesotans who buy insurance on their own with reinsurance, which helps pay high medical bills.  It’s a practical approach to keep health insurance premiums in check, despite rising medical bills. And other states are following our lead.

While reinsurance doesn’t make care less expensive, it does a lot to keep premiums from rising for the 4 percent of Minnesotans who buy health insurance on their own. It works because state money is used to pay some of the medical bills of Minnesotans. It doesn’t pay insurance companies.

We need to renew the reinsurance program because we know it works. Unless the next legislature and governor renew it, our reinsurance program will end — and Minnesota will experience the same steep increases other states are seeing.

Reinsurance is practical
Other states are following our lead, including New Jersey and Wisconsin. In Maryland, where health insurance rates are nearly doubling for some people, they’re considering a reinsurance plan.

New federal uncertainty
But based on what we know now, health insurance in Minnesota will remain stable the next year. In 2019, you will still be able to get health insurance in Minnesota — even if you have an illness, even if you get federal help paying premiums each month. Right now, health insurers are working with the Commerce Department to get ready for open enrollment in the fall.