By Rep. Tony Jurgens, 7/6/2018
Hello from the State Capitol,
I just wanted to remind everyone that the first meeting of the Government and 3M Working Group and the Citizen – Business Work Group will be held July 13 at Washington County’s Cottage Grove Service Center.
According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Government and 3M Working Group will meet from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. The Citizen – Business Work Group will meet from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
In February 2018, Minnesota and the 3M Company settled their lawsuit regarding natural resource damages associated with a group of chemicals known as PFCs. 3M is making a grant of $850 million as a condition of the settlement to address two priorities in the east metro area. Priority 1 is safe drinking water and groundwater sustainability. Priority 2 is restoring and enhancing natural resources.
Meetings of all 3M Settlement work groups are open to the public, and time will be reserved at the end of each meeting for questions from attendees. I encourage you to attend.
Here’s some good news you may have missed. Recently the Minnesota Department of Commerce released preliminary rates for the 2019 individual insurance market, revealing that for the second consecutive year, Republican-led reforms have helped reduce or hold flat individual market health insurance rates after years of double-digit increases following the implementation of Obamacare in Minnesota.
All five of the carriers on the individual market are projected to decrease premiums for 2019, with average preliminary rates dropping between 3% and 12.4%. The individual market serves Minnesotans who buy health insurance on their own, not through an employer or the government.
From 2014-2017, average rates increased by double digits every year, including nearly 60 percent for 2017. Thanks to reforms enacted in 2017, individual market rates for 2018 remained flat or were reduced for most Minnesotans on the individual market. The Minnesota Department of Commerce confirmed last year that without these reforms, rates would have risen by 20% or more.
We also pushed for and successfully passed other key reforms to increase the number of health care options for Minnesotans by expanding agriculture co-op plans, and allowing more insurers into the market, a move that is already paying dividends for seniors on Medicare and employees.
We also successfully approved a nation-leading reform that ensured Minnesotans would have greater access to more doctors by requiring that plans on the individual market provide in-network access to more than one provider system, reversing the trend towards narrower networks.
My number one goal coming into the legislature was to stop Minnesota’s skyrocketing healthcare costs. We passed a number of reforms designed to stop the double digit health insurance premium increases being felt on the individual market, as well as preserving access and choice. With good news being reported now over the past two years, it’s clear the reforms are working and are helping those who have previously struggled with health insurance costs.
Final rates for the 2019 individual market are expected to be released in October 2018.
I hope you all had a wonderful Independence Day and were able to take in the fireworks displays in our area. It was good to see so many residents in Afton on Wednesday as well as at Strawberry Fest in Cottage Grove last month. The next big area celebration will be at Rivertown Days in Hastings on July 20-22. I hope to see you there!
Have a good weekend,
Representative Tony Jurgens
523 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155