ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ Minnesota is running out of time to receive approval from the federal government for its plan to lower health insurance premiums next year.

The $542 million reinsurance proposal would keep premiums purchased through the state exchange about 20 percentage points lower next year than they'd otherwise be.

An estimated 4 percent of Minnesota residents get their insurance through the MNsure exchange and may pay thousands more for coverage if the government doesn't approve the plan.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and staff at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are considering the request.

Federal law gives the agency until after Christmas to make a decision, but Minnesota is required to announce 2018 individual market rates by Oct. 2.