Your Guide to Minnesota Health Insurance
Before we jump right into Minnesota health insurance and everything you need to know, let’s start with a little background information. In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a “Obamacare”) was passed with the goal of getting all Americans access to affordable health insurance. To meet this goal, one measure Obamacare took was to create the ACA health insurance marketplaces, or health exchanges: one-stop shops where Americans can choose from a range of standardized, government-regulated health care plans. Health exchanges are also where eligible people can get subsidies, which lower the cost of their health plans.
States were given the option to run their own local exchange, take part in a multi-state exchange, or use the federal exchange. States that run their own exchanges get to customize many elements, including the time frame during which their residents can sign up for a plan. Several states decided to operate their own state exchanges and continue to do so to this day. Minnesota is one of those states.
Minnesota’s Health Insurance Landscape: Then and Now
The Minnesota health insurance exchange is called MNsure. Before the ACA, 8.9 percent of Minnesotans were uninsured. Since the introduction of MNsure, the percent of Minnesotans without health insurance has dropped to 6.3! Minnesotans with the highest rates of uninsurance fall into four primary groups:
Young adults, ages 18 to 34 (10.9 percent)
Persons with income below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines (11.3 percent)
People with a high school education or less (11.9 percent)
People of color and American Indians (13.9 percent)
The Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange
MNsure is where eligible people throughout the state can find subsidized ACA plans. Open Enrollment for 2019 in Minnesota begins November 1 and ends January 13. If you sign up by December 15, your coverage will start January 1. However, if you sign up after December 15, you will have to wait until February 1 to use your plan. Lucky you – this sign up window is significantly longer than the window given on the federal exchange!
MNsure is one of seven states with a reinsurance program, which essentially reimburses insurers for costly claims. This results in lower total claims costs for insurers and is transferred to you in the form of lower monthly payments to your health insurance company.
Like all other state exchanges, each plan on MNsure covers 10 essential health benefits. These include things like prescription coverage, maternity and mental health care, and laboratory services.
Buying insurance with MNsure involves four steps:
1. Create an account on MNsure
2. Complete the online application form
3. Compare your options
4. Select your plan and enroll
In true health insurance fashion, each of these steps can be trickier than you expect. Many people need help navigating the website, estimating their income, figuring out if they are eligible for subsidies, and understanding what documents are needed for proof of income, citizenship, or identity. Working with Stride makes this process much faster and easier, while still allowing you to enroll through MNsure with the same plan at the same price.
MNsure’s Intricacies: What You Need to Know for 2019
All Minnesota health insurance carriers that offered plans on MNsure for 2018 will continue to do so for 2019. This means all four carriers are returning to the exchange. These four carriers include:
Minnesotans are fairly lucky because there is a strong variety of carriers participating in the exchange. This means you have a pretty good selection when choosing a plan.
According to a recent MNsure press release, insurance plan prices are decreasing. The amount by which it decreases depends on where in Minnesota you live. On average across the state, your monthly premium will decrease anywhere between three to 12 percent if you choose to keep your current health plan. This is a breath of fresh air; not only have all MNsure carriers proposed a rate decrease, but this is in stark contrast to premium hikes Minnesotans experienced for 2017. Not to mention, you will likely qualify for a health insurance subsidy, which can help make your plan more affordable; of the 116 thousand people enrolled through MNsure, 64 percent receive federal subsidies.
If you live in Minnesota, the start of Open Enrollment (the time of year when you can enroll in a new health plan) is just around the corner. Start preparing now to find your most affordable plan, and you’ll be well on your way for smarter, better savings all year long. And don’t forget – if you need help finding a subsidy or picking a plan, our experts are here to help!