Thousands of Minnesotans who buy health insurance on their own are bracing for final word on whether their premiums will spike next year.
On Thursday, the Minnesota Department of Commerce is scheduled to release 2016 rates for shoppers who buy individual policies.
Four insurers that collectively cover most people in the market are seeking average increases of more than 20 percent each, including a proposed jump of more than 50 percent for about 179,000 people with coverage from Eagan-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota — the state’s largest health insurer.
In ruling on the requests, regulators must walk a line between satisfying consumers who want low rates and insurers who say the business can’t be sustained at current premium levels.
“We are dying here under the weight of insurance premiums,” Kristi Nelson, 53, of Hastings, wrote Commerce Department officials in opposition to a possible rate increase. “It’s like being dropped off a cliff every year when the new premiums come out.”
The proposed rates apply to Minnesota’s individual market, where roughly 6 percent of state residents bought coverage last year. That market has changed markedly with the federal Affordable Care Act.