Minnesota's new Democratic (pardon me..."Democratic-Farmer-Labor", or DFL) Governor, Tim Walz, has just posted his proposed state budget for the next fiscal year, and it includes some fantastic expansions & improvements to the healthcare system of Minnesota, including both state-level ACA enhancements and a push for a robust Public Option, along with other ideas.
The Minnesota ACA exchange, MNsure, wrapped up their 2019 Open Enrollment Period on January 13th, and recently released three big reports chock full of wonky healthcare data nerd goodness. I'm mostly going to just repost some of the key graphs/charts, but make sure to read the full reports for all the details:
Things have been happening so quickly of late that I'm getting farther and farther behind on some important healthcare policy developments, particularly at the state level. There are two extremely important Public Option announcements which could be game changers if they make it through the legislative process.
Since I don't have time to do full write-ups on either one right now, I'll just present these summaries:
MNsure reaches record-setting sign-up numbers in sixth open enrollment period
123,731 Minnesotans sign up for private health coverage
ST. PAUL, Minn.—MNsure reported strong numbers during its sixth open enrollment period, which ended Sunday. Nearly 400 more Minnesotans signed up for coverage than during the previous open enrollment period, which ended with 123,334 sign-ups.
Hmmm...just as with Colorado, MNsure's official numbers don't quite jibe with CMS's official report from last year, which put MN's tally at 116,358 QHP selections...nearly 7,000 fewer than MNsure's number.
Last chance: MNsure Open Enrollment Period Ends this Sunday, January 13
January 10, 2019
ST. PAUL, Minn.—Minnesotans have until midnight on Sunday, January 13, to secure health insurance coverage through MNsure for 2019. Those who enroll by the deadline will have coverage that begins February 1.
"MNsure is the only place to get financial help to save money on your monthly premium," said MNsure CEO Nate Clark. "More than half of all MNsure enrollees are receiving tax credits."
So, it's over, right? Well...not quite. The 2019 ACA Open Enrollment Period officially ended last night...but only in 43 states. In the remaining seven (+DC), Open Enrollment hasn't ended yet. 2019 ACA Open Enrollment is still ongoing for nearly 10% of the population!
In Massachusetts, open enrollment runs through Jan. 23rd, 2019 for coverage starting February 1st
MNsure Reports More Than 113,000 Private Health Plan Sign-ups Following First Deadline
December 17, 2018
ST. PAUL, Minn.—Following the first deadline for 2019 coverage, 113,000 Minnesotans have signed up for private health coverage through MNsure. Saturday, December 15, was the deadline for coverage beginning January 1. Minnesotans have until January 13 to sign up for coverage starting February 1, 2019.
“We are excited that more than 113,000 Minnesotans have already signed up for comprehensive coverage through MNsure.org during our smoothest open enrollment to-date,” said MNsure CEO Nate Clark.
Since the start of open enrollment, MNsure's Contact Center has fielded nearly 80,000 calls. In addition, there have been 1.2 million visits to MNsure.org and more than 175,000 plan comparison tool sessions.
It's important to note that unlike most states, Minnesota's 2019 Open Enrollment Period doesn't end on the 15th (although you do have to sign up by then in order to have coverage start on January 1st); Minnesotans still have until January 13th to enroll (anyone who enrolls after 12/15 will have their coverage kick in on February 1st instead).
Last week, Bernie Sanders posted the following video (click to view) on Twitter. It tells the tragic story of a young Minnesota man named Alec Smith with diabetes who died soon after after no longer being able to afford either health insurance or the insulin and other medical supplies needed to keep him alive:
Alec Smith died at 26 because he was rationing insulin that was too expensive. The greed of the pharmaceutical industry is killing Americans and it has got to stop. (with @NSmithholt12) pic.twitter.com/xmryYm0Enr
The main point of the video is the horrific price gouging on insulin, and a new drug price control bill which Sen. Sanders is pushing for which would tie U.S. drug pricing to that of a half-dozen other countries.
It's a genuinely depressing story, and the proposed drug pricing bill is interesting and worthy of discussion.