The plans provide $16.3 billion in medical care in the second year of health emergency
ST. PAUL, Minnesota., April 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Throughout the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, from minnesota not-for-profit health plans continued to prioritize the health and financial stability of their members. COVID-19 costs for fully insured markets and government programs have been exceeded $649 million in 2021, of which $237 million in screening and vaccination costs, and $66 million in voluntary cost-sharing waivers, the Minnesota Council of Health Plans announced today.
A return to more normal levels of patient care last year, which had been postponed amid the pandemic, also led to medical spending in these markets increasing by 15.77% over 2020 to reach $16.3 billions. Health plans posted a collective operating margin of 1.35% in 2021.
As mission-based nonprofits, health plans are using that operating margin to benefit their enrollees, especially as the national health emergency continues.
“It was another difficult year for Minnesotans due to COVID-19, but health plans continued to scale up to meet their needs. This included free COVID testing and vaccinations, as well as health plans continuing voluntary cost-sharing waivers for inpatient treatment.” mentioned Lucas Nesse, CEO of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans. “Health plans are continuously adapting to support the health and safety of Minnesotans by providing broad access to equitable, high-quality care.”
Almost $2 billion spent on COVID-related expenses since the start of the pandemic
In addition to the 2.6 million Minnesotans enrolled in fully insured coverage and a government program, Council members also support large self-insured employers who fund insurance for 1.8 million employees. All markets combined, more than $1.2 billion was spent in 2021 on COVID-19-related costs, including $490 million in testing and vaccination costs and $83 million in voluntary cost-sharing waivers for inpatient treatment. Including all markets, total COVID-19 costs have now exceeded $1.95 billion from the start of the pandemic* until 2021.
The nonprofit health plans also continued their strong tradition of community giving and outreach by launching several initiatives to increase the number of Minnesotans receiving the COVID vaccine. This included COVID vaccination clinics in underserved communities to ensure vulnerable populations had equitable access to vaccines.
Pandemic Drives Shift to Government Programs and Individual Market
Total plan enrollment for fully insured markets and government programs increased 1.6% to 2.6 million. Enrollment in government programs increased significantly for the second straight year, rising 10.87% to 1.1 million, while commercial enrollment fell 9.26% to 834,384. from minnesota The reinsurance program brought much-needed stability to the individual market with a 0.7% increase in listings over the previous year. A recent To analyse by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services concluded that 88,958 Minnesotans had coverage in 2020 who otherwise would not have had coverage in the absence of the reinsurance program. Health plans recorded an operating loss of 8.27% in the personal market in 2021, after recording an operating loss of 0.66% in 2020.
“from minnesota reinsurance program is a proven tool for stability and affordability that deserves more permanent consideration,” Nesse said.
Established in 1985, the Minnesota Council of Health Plans is an association of not-for-profit licensed health plans that includes: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of MinnesotaHealthPartners, Medica, Sanford Health Plan and UCare.
*COVID expenses for 2020, which only included the fully insured market when reported, were incorrect due to an accounting error and should have been $293 million.
SOURCE Minnesota Council of Health Plans