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MNsure Customers Say They're Seeing Double-Digit Hikes

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO/AP) —Thousands of Minnesotans are being notified that their health care premiums are going up -- in some cases, way up.

One WCCO viewer sent a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield saying his monthly premium was increasing by $400, making his monthly bill more than $1,100 for himself and two children.

The state Department of Commerce just approved rate hikes for many private insurers.

Those rate increases also affect policies available through MNsure, where operators were busy fielding phone calls today.

The exchange is heading into its third round of open enrollment with more call center staff. Interim Chief Executive Officer Allison O'Toole said Wednesday they're already receiving calls from consumers worried about double-digit premium hikes for next year.

O'Toole expects those rate increases to drive more business to MNsure after two years of lackluster enrollment. The exchange is touting tax credits to help soothe sticker shock.

Call center operations manager Steve Minikel says they've hired about 25 more employees since last year to help answer questions.

MNsure is also launching a new tool sometime next week that will help consumers compare insurance plan deductibles, co-pays and other costs.

Nov. 1 marks the start of the open enrollment period for MNsure. That enrollment period ends on Jan. 31.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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