PreferredOne no longer prefers Minnesota’s state insurance exchange

PreferredOne, last year’s top-selling insurer in the Minnesota state insurance exchange, has dropped out of the exchange this year,  the Star-Tribune reports. The state’s exchange, MNsure, confirmed the news to the Star Tribune. Last year, PreferredOne offered the lowest price points and gained the most new customers, netting six in 10 consumers who purchased plans offered through […]

PreferredOne, last year’s top-selling insurer in the Minnesota state insurance exchange, has dropped out of the exchange this year,  the Star-Tribune reports.

The state’s exchange, MNsure, confirmed the news to the Star Tribune. Last year, PreferredOne offered the lowest price points and gained the most new customers, netting six in 10 consumers who purchased plans offered through the exchange set up under the ACA. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota was a distant second, with about 23 percent of new enrollments.

“That’s a huge blow to MNsure,” Allan Baumgarten, an independent Twin Cities health care analyst, told the paper. He also said MNsure “by all accounts is not operationally where it needs to be.”

Minnesota Republicans, who control the state legislature, have not been supportive of the ACA or a state-based exchange.

Calls and emails to PreferredOne have so far gone unanswered, the Star-Tribune said. But the company and MNsure did release a joint statement that said:

“Today PreferredOne made the decision to not offer health plans through the health insurance exchange in 2015,” said the statement from MNsure CEO Scott Leitz and PreferredOne CEO Marcus Merz. “Simply put, both organizations understand that MNsure is still an evolving partnership.”

Consumers who enrolled last year with PreferreOne through the exchange may still be able to renew their policies this year, but only if they don’t qualify or wish to receive subsidies to reduce premiums, according to the Star-Tribune. Subsidies are only available through the exchange.

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Early this summer, MNsure said more than 300,000 Minnesotans had enrolled for coverage through the exchange. PreferredOne had nearly 32,000 of all individual policies, according to the Citizens’ Council on Healthcare Freedom, a St. Paul-based nonprofit that opposes the ACA and used today’s news to chide MNsure and Obamacare in general.

Four Minnesota insurers who sold policies through the exchange will remain this year — Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Medica, HealthPartners and UCare. Rates are expected to be released in October, just ahead of open enrollment.

PreferredOne is a partnership between three medical providers in the Twin Cities, including Fairview Health Services, which has a 50 percent stake, and North Memorial Health Care and PreferredOne Physician Associates, each with a 25 percent ownership stake.