When Alycia Reidl, the president of the Minnesota Association of Health Underwriters, testified in front of the MNsure Board of Directors, she said quite clearly that insurance premiums would be dramatically increasing. Here's part of her testimony:
I have a very simple message and a very simple request, which is that agents within Minnesota think it is imperative, very important, that the rates be released as early as possible to allow consumers to make decisions about what's best for themselves and their families coming into 2015. We also believe that it affects small employers in a very significant way. We're seeing average increases in the 30% range for small employers. I've seen some as much as 100% and they're trying to make a decision about what's the best coverages for their employees should they continue to offer group coverage going into 2015.
Now we don't want that to happen. Let me assure you that it's not any agent's goal to have a small employer drop its coverage but with the rates and the disparity between small group and individual, it's a real conversation that's happening. And without knowing what the rates are going to be for 2015, and a significant number of small employers renewing on December 1st, they are in a position of not being able to make educated decisions for themselves and their employees.
The difference in cost for an employee, if they stay on their group plan, could be 50%, maybe 60% higher and so we ask MNsure to support that rates be released as soon as possible and certainly not waiting until November 15.
It's obvious why Gov. Dayton and the DFL don't want this information released before the election. If Minnesotans hear that a) their insurance premiums are about to spike and b) that spike is directly attributable to the legislation that the DFL legislature passed and that Gov. Dayton signed into law, Gov. Dayton and the DFL will be swept from office.
In the past month, DFL apologists like Sarah Walker have said that MNsure will be a plus for the DFL because people are "getting better coverage at a cheaper price." If these rates are published, that DFL chanting point will be history. Any candidate repeating that lie would open themselves up to justifiable ridicule from Minnesotans.
Ms. Reidl's testimony verifies Examiner's reporting from June 30. That article talked about the spike in premiums from the small group exchange. That exchange deals exclusively with people employed by companies with fewer than 50 employees.
This is a ticking time bomb for the DFL. Their biggest problem will come this September and October, when Ms. Reidl's testimony is turned into a campaign commercial by the Republican Governors Association or by the winner of the GOP gubernatorial primary.
The GOP gubernatorial candidate will undoubtedly ask Gov. Dayton why he isn't releasing the insurance premiums before the election during the debates. It wouldn't surprise anyone if Gov. Dayton lost his temper or gave a non-answer answer when confronted.
This isn't the type of thing that the DFL will want hanging over their heads. Unfortunately for them, they're stuck with it because Republicans said no to this terrible idea. The only fingerprints on this one are DFL fingerprints.
That isn't a good position to be in if you're the DFL.