The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

October 30, 2013

Update: MNsure to offer more options for Olmsted, Dodge residents

Medica enters Rochester market place with several new plans after working with state

Rochester — Residents in Olmsted and Dodge counties will now have multiple health insurance options on MNsure, the state's online health insurance marketplace, state regulators said today.

Rochester had been the only part of Minnesota offering only one insurance option on MNsure.

Insurance companies have stayed out of the Rochester market largely because Mayo sets prices in the region, and they're higher than anywhere else in Minnesota. Mayo officials say their costs are expensive because the clinic treats patients with complex illnesses.

Dannette Coleman, vice president of individual business for Medica, said the company worked quickly with the state departments of health and commerce to offer additional plans in the Rochester area.

"We're just really excited about the outcome," Coleman said. "I think this is really good for the people of southeastern Minnesota, and for the regulators and for us, that we're able to offer the products now in that area."

For a 55-year-old living in Rochester, the new Medica options on MNsure will range from approximately $440 to $670 dollars per month. Previously, the only option for a person that age was a $600 plan by Blue Cross Blue Shield. The prices are for people who don't qualify for federal subsidies.

The addition of seven new health insurance plans will let consumers look for more affordable health care options, while staying with current health providers, Minnesota Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger said. Those providers include Mayo Health Systems but not Rochester's Mayo Clinic.

Medica members who access care through Mayo Health System can be referred to Mayo Clinic without authorization from Medica. In that case, Mayo Clinic would be considered an in-network benefit.

"If they have better access and if they have providers they've been receiving care from over the years, that consistency will be important for their health," Ehlinger said.

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