MNsure still faces obstacles

MNsure became the subject of heated political discussion following the withdrawal of a major service provider last week.

The Affordable Care Act requires most Americans to have health insurance. Uninsured Minnesotans can use MNsure to browse various health care providers and purchase the plan that best fits their financial and medical needs.

Before its recent withdrawal from MNsure, PreferredOne offered the lowest rates available. In doing so, it signed nearly 60 percent of MNsure users. Last Tuesday, however, the company announced that it will not sell any plans during the next open-enrollment period, which begins Nov. 15. The law requires PreferredOne to continue covering its current customers, but their rates could increase.

PreferredOne’s CEO wrote to MNsure stating that further cooperation between the two would be financially unsustainable. The company was running a medical loss ratio of 131 percent.

Responding to PreferredOne’s withdrawal, Republican Senate candidate Mike McFadden criticized Sen. Al Franken for his support of MNsure and advocated a competitive, market-based health care system. Franken’s campaign responded that MNsure and the Affordable Care Act have reduced the rate of uninsured Minnesotans by almost 50 percent.

A recent Star Tribune poll indicated that 44 percent of Minnesotans feel that MNsure has failed. Because we know that many people depend on MNsure for their health care coverage, we are among those deeply concerned by PreferredOne’s withdrawal. We urge Franken or Gov. Mark Dayton to publish a clear plan detailing how the program might be mended before open enrollment in November.