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Medical bills rise 8 percent to $22.8 billion in Minnesota

Staff writer ▼ | April 1, 2016
Medical bills increased 8 percent to $22.8 billion between 2014 and 2015 for people with insurance through the seven Minnesota Council of Health Plans (Council) member health insurers.
Medical bills
Healthcare costs   Medical reserves were tapped to pay for care
According to numbers released by the Council, health insurers had an operating loss of $158.5 million (-0.6 percent) on $25 billion of premium revenue. Medical reserves were tapped to pay for care after income from investments brought losses for 2015 to $72.1 million (-0.3 percent of revenue).

Driving the industry financials was a $351.8 million gap between premium revenue and expenses for people who buy health insurance on their own. Revenue from premiums in what's known as the individual market was $1.1 billion while medical expenses alone topped $1.4 billion.

The losses were lowered by $218.7 million that companies expect to receive from other health insurers.

This is the second year of the three-year program coordinated by the federal government to ensure an insurer's policyholders aren't penalized because they need more care than people who signed up with other companies. In all, 302,169 people bought health insurance on their own.

As leaders with the University of Minnesota's State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) and the Minnesota Department of Health announced recently, more Minnesotans than ever before have public insurance including Medicare, Medicaid and MinnesotaCare.

Enrollment in Medicare was up 7 percent to 574,012 while Medicaid and MinnesotaCare increased 10 percent to 727,932. Industry-wide, enrollment remained steady at 4.7 million people.