More Of That “Blowing Sunshine Up Minnesota’s Skirt” Thing…

I read yesterday’s headlines about the new, Preferred-One-Free MNSure rates, and got ready to write.

Then, I got an email from a friend who works in the Healthcare industry, which explains it much better:

The headlines on MNSure saying premiums rose only 4.5%.  This reminds me of an old story.

A friend of mine was flying a helicopter in the fog in downtown St. Paul and his radio and navigation equipment failed suddenly.  He knew he was in the midst of the downtown and going any direction could mean an immediate crash.  He stayed put hovering for a few minutes, inching lower.  When the fog lifted he was right outside the MN Dept. of Commerce.  Not recognizing the building he grabbed a piece of paper and a big sharpie.  He wrote in big block letters “Where am I?” and put it put it on the outside of his windshield.  A commerce employee saw the helicopter’s predictament and wrote a note back and placed it in the building window.  “You’re in a helicopter.”

Technically correct and absolutely meaningless.

That’s my take of this headline.  The real problem is that the low cost insurer, Preferred One, dropped out.  Maybe the remaining plans only increased by 4.5% but to the 60% who were on Preferred One, the real story is that their premiums are rising about 20%.  Minnesotans will understand that if they take time to read the full story.

Which the DFL is counting on people not doing, naturally, as they relentlessly pound away with that “4.5%” number on ads around the state.

Recent history shows it’s not hard to fool Minnesotans.

4 thoughts on “More Of That “Blowing Sunshine Up Minnesota’s Skirt” Thing…

  1. Regardless that the Dem talking points mandate only sharing the 4.5% increase with the public and counting on the willfully ignorant not digging to find that increases for many are in the double digits…”Oh, c’mon!! It’s just a measley 4.5%”. Except we were PROMISED rates would go DOWN by 30% by 2016!!!

  2. To give the reporter some credit – the story plays it pretty straight for a Strib news report. Could have done without the “Republicans claim” angle, but I suppose you have to follow the stylebook. The headline and sub-head though? Is the oil-heiress approving headlines at the Strib now too?
    Ditto what Adrian notes above. This “just 4.5% increase” figure – if done by a private business or a publically traded corporation – would be at best false advertising and at worst outright fraud. None other than government could get away with this bullsh**. Is the Commerce Commissioner / Staff political appointee’s? I can’t imagine any professional presenting this information with a straight face. I certainly wouldn’t hire any accountant that had MN Commerce Dept on their resume. When/If Republicans ever get in control, they better clean those stalls out quickly.

  3. As Adrian notes, the liar-in-chief claimed that he was going to bend the cost curve down, not up, and 4.5% still exceeds the inflation rate this year, which appears to be 1.6%. In other words, the inflation rate as a whole is being driven by healthcare/insurance costs.

    And let’s see; the excuse will be that those who must migrate from PreferredOne are getting “better” insurance. Yup, it will cover more, but what if PreferredOne’s customers didn’t need that coverage? A new Rolls is theoretically a “better” car than my 1997 GMC pickup, but it would not be “better” for me after I had to pay for it, its insurance, its maintenance, and the like.

  4. Here’s my personal MNSure story. I had a fairly expensive COBRA plan that was good until age 65 but I am healthy enough to where I should qualify for an individual plan…except under previous Minnesota law I couldn’t get an individual policy at any price due to an old athletic Achilles tendon injury I wanted to have operated on and was dumb enough to mention in my application to Health Partners for an individual policy. So they rejected me. I squealed to a professional colleague who was a higher up at HP and he put me in touch with a doctor who worked with underwriting and whom I had also served with on a committee there while I worked for a HP-affiliated practice. I asked: “Why can’t you issue a policy excluding the surgery? I am happy to pay out of pocket for it.” He explained that our wise legislature had made it illegal.
    I ended up trying to negotiate the swamp of the MNSure rollout, got frustrated with their incompetence and also scared that they would bollux up the enrollment anyway. Then I had an inspiration. My income was too high to get a subsidy, so why not just enter the individual market? I had identified a plan on the exchanges (after waiting months) that looked like something good. I logged on to the Preferred One website and five minutes later (not a typo. It literally took that long) I had an insurance policy for 2014. Of course I knew at the time they would likely jack up the rates for 2015, but I hit my Medicare eligibility in 2015 anyway, so I’ll need to shop around. Preferred One of course is dropping out of the market and my policy will disappear, but they have promised individual policy holders will be automatically enrolled in another plan. I’m sure my premium increase will be way more than 4.5%. I’ll report it in another comment.
    “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” I think that should be the first line of every piece of Republican campaign literature. I certainly liked my plan but I couldn’t keep it.

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