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Are your health care costs rising?

Ingrid Christensen, owner and president of INGCO International in Minneapolis, understands the need to offer substantive wages and benefits to attract and retain employees in today’s tight labor market. As chair of the Minnesota Chamber’s Health Policy Committee, she especially appreciates our efforts to slow the growth of health insurance premiums.

Health care costs are particularly challenging for small employers like INGCO, which provides translation and interpreting services. INGCO has eight employees.

“Health insurance is a continual challenge for me as a business owner, a consumer and for my employees,” Christensen says. “We are a super small company. All of my employees have a different situation regarding their insurance coverage – one is covered on her parents’ plan, one on his spouse’s plan, and the majority, like me, purchase their own coverage.”

Christensen offers employees a stipend after six months on the job to help cover insurance costs.

The Minnesota Chamber was a lead advocate for legislation in 2017 that created the state’s reinsurance program in the individual market. As a result, premiums were reduced by about 20% on average for each 2018 and 2019.

This year, the Chamber helped to successfully extend the reinsurance for two years. The results showed up in rates for the individual health insurance market recently released by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. People who buy health plans through MNsure or directly from health insurers will see average premiums next year remain steady or even decline a bit. Premiums for most people covered through a small-business plan will see average increases in the low single digits.

Bentley Graves, director of health care policy at the Minnesota Chamber, notes the reinsurance program is targeted to assist employers exactly like INGCO. The individual health insurance market provides coverage for many Minnesotans who are self-employed entrepreneurs. In addition, the individual market is increasingly becoming an important source of coverage for very small employers and their employees.

“Minnesota employers need more options and greater flexibility in providing health coverage for their employees,” he says. “Individual market options have been buoyed in recent years by the state’s individual market reinsurance program.”

For more information on the reinsurance program, contact Graves at