Twin Cities insurer offers nation’s cheapest health-exchange plan

MNsure’s launch was far from smooth, but the plans it offers are among the cheapest in the nation. And one Minnesota insurer sells the cheapest plan of all.

That’s according to a new nationwide study from the Kaiser Family Foundation that compared the cost of a silver-level exchange plan for a 40-year-old.

By that metric, Golden Valley-based PreferredOne’s $154-per-month plan is the cheapest in the nation. The Twin Cities ranked as the least-expensive region nationwide, while the central Minnesota counties of Benton, Stearns and Wright counties ranked third.

So far, PreferredOne is winning more MNsure business than any other insurer. The company’s exchange market share stands at 58 percent, while Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota ranks second with 24 percent. HealthPartners Inc. is third with 12 percent.

To see how much PreferredOne is punching above its weight, check out this interactive graphic comparing MNsure stats to overall market share data from 2011. In that year, PreferredOne was in the “other” 16-percent category, while Blue Cross had 63 percent.

Of course, commercial health plan enrollment in MNsure is falling below projections, so it’s unclear whether the exchange will ultimately prove a boon for PreferredOne’s business. And some experts are predicting the exchange won’t significantly alter the competitive landscape in most states.

Still, about 29,500 Minnesota have purchased commercial coverage so far — and nabbing more than half of those people ain’t too shabby.

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