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Special Session Considered To Help Make MNsure More Affordable

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said Thursday that he is welcoming all suggestions on how make the Affordable Care Act more affordable.

For the second day in a row, the governor said something needs to be done.

It's not just people buying insurance through the state's MNsure program that are seeing higher rates. Anyone buying individual or family plans are seeing big increases.

The Buck family of Goodhue County is facing an increase that would mean they would pay $40,000 in monthly premiums next year for their family of four.

"We're not the only ones who are in this boat," Ann Buck said. "It's other farmers and those who are self-employed."

Ann and David Buck have owned a dairy farm for more than two decades. This year, their monthly health insurance premiums for their family of four are $1,650 a month and their deductible is $13,000.

The family just learned their 2017 premium will jump to $3,300 a month. While the deductible will remain at $13,000, they will have a more limited choice of doctors.

"It's insane," David Buck said. "It can't go on."

The hikes are disproportionately affecting people in rural areas and in southeastern Minnesota, where there is less competition among insurers.

"If we moved to Dakota County, we would pay $1,000 less a month," Ann Buck said.

The Bucks hope Dayton and the Legislature will do something to help.

On Thursday, the governor said one option might be a special session after Election Day.

"We are looking at what we can do in a special session that could provide immediate assistance to people who are burdened by these cost increases for next year," Dayton said.

A solution, if there is one, needs to happen fast. Under MNsure, the open enrollment period is about to open and you need to be enrolled by Dec. 15.

The Bucks are among the many families and individuals who have too much income to qualify for the MNsure tax breaks, which cuts off at $47,000 per individual or $97,000 for a family of four.

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