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Honorable Tim Walz

Representing the 1st District of MINNESOTA

Walz, Ellison & Nolan Call for Emergency Tax Relief for Minnesota Consumers Buying Health Insurance on Individual Market

Dec 6, 2016
Press Release
Urge House leadership to include “a lifeline" in year-end, must-pass federal funding legislation for the 2% of Minnesotans ineligible for federal tax credits facing health insurance rate hikes

Mankato, MN – Today, Representatives Tim Walz (MN-01), Keith Ellison (MN-05) and Rick Nolan (MN-08) sent a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urging that Fiscal Year 2017 federal funding legislation, which must pass by December 9, provides targeted emergency tax relief for the hardworking Americans hit by health insurance premium increases on the individual market.

The request was made following reports that Minnesotans face premium increases for coverage in the individual market, with rate hikes averaging from 50% to 67% starting next year. The letter asks congressional leadership of both parties to address this hardship by extending federal tax relief to the two percent of Minnesotans who are not eligible for existing federal tax credits.

Though more Minnesotans have coverage now than ever before, the population in the individual market includes many Americans who were uninsured for years. Many of these individuals are less healthy than the average American and require more expensive coverage. Others in the individual market are farmers, small business owners, or retirees who do not yet qualify for Medicare. These individuals have unique income structures that make them ineligible for tax credits but unable to afford the cost of premiums.

While policymakers work toward agreeing upon a permanent bipartisan fix for the problems in the individual market, the proposed federal tax relief aims to help Americans afford the cost of their premiums in 2017.

“The urgency of this crisis cannot be overstated,” the lawmakers wrote. “Any emergency tax relief should be targeted to help any consumer who cannot afford their individual insurance policy premium, regardless of whether they purchase the coverage through their state exchange (e.g., MNsure) or the federal exchange. This will help foster the robust, competitive market we need in order to provide these constituents with affordable, comprehensive and quality care.”

Minnesotans began signing up for their 2017 health insurance on November 1.  Rate increases are set to go into effect on January 1, 2017.

“As we continue to push for solutions in Congress, the state legislature is in a position to provide more immediate relief to this small group of Minnesotans,” Rep. Walz added. “I applaud state leaders for outlining specific plans for Minnesotans, including Governor Dayton’s premium rebate proposal, and I am hopeful state lawmakers will act. I believe the proposal we outline today for federal emergency action can complement actions being considered by our state.”

To read the full letter calling on House leadership to provide relief for Minnesotans facing excessive premium increases, please click here.