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Minnesota Health Plans Reserves, Investment Income Down
Date:4/21/2009

Operations break even after $230 million of losses in past 3 years; Medical care spending, enrollment increase

ST. PAUL, Minn., April 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- After three years of operating losses totaling more than $230 million, Minnesota's health plans posted combined gains of less than one-half of 1 percent of revenue (.39 percent or $65.9 million) in 2008 according to figures released today by the Minnesota Council of Health Plans. Spending on medical care continues to increase for Minnesota health plans, jumping 6 percent in 2008 to $15 billion.

State mandated reserves fell 7 percent as income from investments combined to total less than $11 million, a $195.5 million decrease from 2007. Reserves ensure that health plans can pay members' medical bills and invest in technology and other improvements even in tough economic times.

"The current economic downturn serves as a stark reminder of why health plans need rainy day funds," said Julie Brunner, executive director of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans. Minnesota health plans have about two months of expenses reserves, about $150 million less than last year. "Reserves have done what they are designed to do," she added, "provide stability in unstable times."

Demand grows for public programs, high risk pool enrollment drops

Enrollment in Minnesota's health plans increased nearly 3 percent from last year to more than 4.3 million. More than 455,000 Minnesotans are enrolled in state public programs -- an increase of 10 percent over the previous year. Public programs include Prepaid Medical Assistance, General Assistance Medical Care, MinnesotaCare, Minnesota Disability Health Options, Minnesota Senior Health Options and Minnesota Senior Care. In addition, enrollment in the Minnesota Comprehensive Health Care Association (MCHA), a health plan that guarantees coverage for high risk individuals, dropped to 26,224 enr
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SOURCE Minnesota Council of Health Plans
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