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MNsure promotes numbers in Beltrami County

BEMIDJI—Individuals and families in Bemidji and the surrounding area should be able to purchase health care with less impact to their wallets, according to a press release from the MNsure health insurance marketplace. Around the region, premiums through MNsure are declining by 14 percent and 69 percent of enrolled households in Bemidji are receiving tax credits, leading to more savings, MNsure officials said in the release.

More than 500 Beltrami County residents have enrolled in private health coverage through MNsure so far, the release said.

"That is, I would say, significantly higher," MNsure Marketing and Communications Specialist Marie Harmon said on the number receiving credits. "Right now, statewide, it's bordering on 50 percent who're credit-eligible, so, it's definitely higher than the state average." Those credits have been available since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, passed by Congress in 2010. Harmon said the credits are based on locations and income averages and they're redeveloped annually based on the premium prices. In the release, MNsure states individuals earning up to $48,560 a year, or a family earning up to $100,400 a year are eligible to qualify for federal tax credits. The deadline for coverage starting Jan. 1 is Dec. 15 and the deadline for coverage beginning Feb. 1 is Jan. 13. Over this period, MNsure officials are estimating price decreases of health insurance from 7.4 percent to 27.7 percent. "With lower rates in the Bemidji area and significant financial assistance available, we are excited by the savings enrollees are seeing in 2019," MNsure CEO Nate Clark said in the release. "We encourage everyone to visit to see how much they can save." In 2010, the ACA established a federal health insurance marketplace and gave the states the right to create their own, with Minnesota opting to develop MNsure. In 2017, 117,000 Minnesotans enrolled in health plans through the state marketplace. The decline in prices comes two years after premiums were rising dramatically. In response, the state Legislature approved a reinsurance program and premium relief for Minnesotans. The legislative action managed to stabilize the market, halt increases and recently, drop prices.

Matthew Liedke

Matthew Liedke is the city, county and state government reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. He also covers business, politics and financial news.

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