On Oct. 2 the Minnesota Department of Commerce released final rates for the 2018 individual insurance market, confirming that Republican-led reforms helped reverse the four straight years of double-digit premium increases and helped to expand health care choices to Minnesota families – particularly in rural areas.

According to the Minnesota Department of Commerce, rates would have risen by 20 percent or higher without the reforms.

The individual market serves those who do not receive health insurance through their employer or the government. Over the past four years, premium rates increased by double digits every year, including nearly 60 percent just one year ago.

As a result of the reinsurance program recently approved by the federal government, all current insurers will continue serving the individual market next year. In addition, Republicans successfully pushed to expand health care options and improve access to hospitals and doctors.

As part of the reinsurance legislation, providers are now required to offer in-network access to more than one health care provider system in the counties in which they operate.

“Addressing health insurance relief was one of my top priorities going into the 2017 session, and with this update it’s clear that these new laws have begun to work as intended, which is fantastic news for many residents across our state,” said District 16B State Representative Paul Torkelson.

Torkelson noted these reforms were supported by just one Democrat in the Minnesota House. Governor Dayton refused to sign the measure, opting to let it become law without his signature.