"Our MNsure individual product membership is only a small percentage of the entire PreferredOne enrollment but is taking a significant amount of our resources to support administratively," a company statement obtained by KSTP said. "We feel continuing on MNsure was not sustainable and believe this is an important step to best serve all PreferredOne members."
The insurer's move came just two months before the start of open enrollment in Obamacare plans for 2015 and a month before insurers are expected to release their plan rates for next year.
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PreferredOne's decision is likely to have significant effect not only on its current Obamacare enrollees, but also on people who will be shopping for plans for next year on the exchange, which is now left with just four insurers. The remaining players on the exchange are Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Health Partners, Medica and UCare.
PreferredOne's relatively low-priced plans on MNSure for the 2014 enrollment season were a big reason why 59 percent of the 47,902 people who bought health coverage on the exchange by mid-April selected the insurer.
Those customers now face the prospects of higher rates if they want to remain in those same plans next year, as is their option, while existing customers of other insurers and new customers in the market will have fewer price options from which to choose.