In announcing the exit from the MNsure marketplace for 2015, MNsure CEO Scott Leitz and PreferredOne CEO Marcus Merz in a joint statement called the exchange an “evolving partnership.” They also acknowledged that PreferredOne's decision affects 2015 rates and enrollment.
Leitz and Merz said both organizations would work to minimize the move's effect on enrollees. PreferredOne didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
“A major player like this leaving is most likely to raise premiums,” said Jonathan Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who modeled projections for MNsure and consulted on drafting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Gruber said PreferredOne's decision to leave MNsure was “unusual” compared to what's happening nationally. He said exchanges are typically seeing more insurers and health plan options for 2015.
The vast majority of exchange plan enrollees across the country have incomes below 400% of the federal poverty level and are receiving federal premium tax credits to make their coverage more affordable. PreferredOne enrollees receiving subsidies will have to switch to another insurer if they want to keep their subsidy because the subsidies are only available for plans purchased through the public exchange.
PreferredOne is headquartered in Golden Valley, Minn. Roughly 327,000 Minnesotans have enrolled for coverage through MNsure, including about 55,000 in private non-Medicaid plans.
James Nord is a freelance writer in Minneapolis.