- Associated Press - Monday, October 2, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Latest on Minnesota’s health insurance rates for 2018 (all times local):

12:25 p.m.

Minnesotans who buy health coverage on their own should see slight rate increases and even some dropping prices next year.

State regulators unveiled final rates for the individual market on Monday that range from a 3 percent increase to a 13 percent decrease, on average. It follows years of double-digit premium hikes in Minnesota, causing concern last year that the individual market may collapse.

Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman says the lower rates are a sign of stability. He credits a new, $549 million reinsurance program that will help insurers lower costs over the next two years.

Just 4 percent of Minnesota residents buy coverage on the individual market, which includes shoppers on the state health insurance exchange called MNsure. Open enrollment begins Nov. 1.

8:25 a.m.

Minnesota health insurers are finalizing premiums for 2018, and it could be welcome news for residents who buy coverage on their own.

State regulators were expected on Monday to announce final rates for next year. Preliminary rates released over the summer showed insurers were preparing for premiums that range from a nearly 15 percent decrease to an 11 percent hike.

It follows consecutive years of double-digit increases and concerns about the stability of Minnesota’s individual market. But those lower rates hinged on recent federal approval of a new, $549 million fund created by the state Legislature to help control costs for shoppers in the next two years.

The finalized rates may have changed and will vary widely based on age, location and plan for residents.

Open enrollment begins Nov. 1.

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