Minnesota health insurance tips


Minnesota insurance law and regulation

The Minnesota Department of Commerce Web site contains a link to legislative updates related to insurance laws as well as information for consumers who have an unresolved insurance complaint. The Web site has not yet developed resources to help individuals find commercial low cost health plans like mini-med or core coverage, specific illness policies, Supplemental Accident Insurance and basic health insurance.

The Department of Commerce can be reached by telephone at 651-296-2488 or by mail at 85 7th Place East, Suite 500, St. Paul MN 55101. The state children’s health insurance plan (CHIP) Web site is MinnesotaCare.

News that affects your health insurance and planning

March 16, 2020 – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota expands COVID-19 coverage to include office visits and virtual care at no cost.

April 2, 2019 – Minnesota is one of only two states that receive federal funding for what is known under the Affordable Care Act as a basic health plan. Some MinnesotaCare recipients pay monthly premiums, which are capped at $80 a month. But the federal government that pays 90% of the cost of this program announced plans to cut back this health care funding faster than originally anticipated in order to pay for it’s other higher budget priorities like military spending. Under the new proposal the 88,000 people covered by MinnesotaCare will likely be adversely affected with possible loss of health coverage within a few years.

The history of health care planning in Minnesota (Information is outdated and links may be expired)

2/15/2016 Some Minnesota residents who signed up for health insurance through MNSure are finding that they are now assessed with liens agains their estate and apparently there is no mechanism within the law to pay off the lien except as an estate settlement.  Minnesota Public Radio is covering the problem and blame a provision in the “fine print” that was unknown to buyer and insurance agents who pushed the insurance products.

12/6/2015 Rates increased by an average of 10% nationally since last year. Rates in Minneapolis rose by more than 28%.

10/22/2015 One of the two health insurance options available to small businesses is withdrawing from the state insurance exchange citing a lack of interest among employers. Medica will not offer coverage for 2016. Employers shold be careful about how cancellation of the small business health plan affects their tax liability for other health benefits. See https://novaktony.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/10-tax-traps-for-small-business-health-plans/.

6/8/2015 – Grand Forks Herald summarizes the 2016 rate increase situation: “Minnesotans got a shock Thursday when the state’s health insurers proposed “eye-popping” rate increases for people who buy health insurance on the individual market — premium increases as high as 70 percent.” Rates will be finalized by October 1 to be effective January 1m 2016.

12/8/2014 – MNSure insurance marketplace now expects that far fewer people will enroll for coverage than it initially projected. Of the 19,000 people enrolled so far for 2015, about 11,000 qualified for Medicaid or public assistance and about 7,000 signing up for a regular private health insurance. Enrollment through private insurance exchanges is 17 times greater than over last year.

2/11/2014 Professional support for any health care reform issue is available free of charge through an arrangement with OnlineNavigator. All online inquiries are handled personally by Tony Novak, CPA. Online support is available through a number of popular social media channels including Facebook and Google+ as well as e-mail. Telephone support for insurance enrollment is available through Members Insurance Exchange at (800) 609-0683.

12/17/2013 The director of MNSure resigned amid pressure over the rocky start of the state’s health insurance exchange. The all Democratic board of directors appointed an interim director to help the thousands of Minnesotans who are trying to get health insurance by January 1.

10/8/2013 We issued a clarification to MNSure and the Minnesota Department of Commerce that OnlineNavigator does not provide the services covered under rules about navigators, consumer assister partners, in-person assistors or insurance producers as defined under state law.

7/26/2013 Affordable Smart Term Life Insurance is now available to most Minnesota residents from age 20 through 60 directly online with no physical exam, agent appointment or telephone verification. Most policies are issued on the same day with coverage amounts of $25,000 up to $350,000. The level premium life insurance is available for terms of 10, 15, 20 and 30 years. Sample rates for $150,000 coverage for a preferred risk male age 30, non-tobacco $30.85 per month; tobacco user $49.55 per month. A preferred risk female age 30 non-tobacco user would be $26.49 per month and a tobacco user would be $40.96 per month. Rates are higher for older applicants and lower health risks as described online. Pricing is based on input you provide about your medical history but, unlike most other life insurers, does not consider family medical history. Coverage is issued by innovative National Life Group, rated “A” by A.M. Best Company for 2013.

3/11/2013 This page was updated to include a link to the insurance plan that will be used to determine specific “essential health benefits” for insurance that qualified for 2014 federal tax purposes. Also, a link to additional covered benefits required by state law. Non-qualified insurance is likely to continue to be available at a lower cost that does not include these benefits nor qualify for federal tax purposes.

2/1/2012 The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, a division of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)reported that as of June 30, 2011 HealthPartners, Inc. and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota are the state’s largest health insurance providers and as such, earn the right to set the benchmark for the development of the state’s essential benefit plans to debut in 2014 under health reform law.

2/7/2011 The state’s pre-existing condition insurance plan (PCIP) monthly premium rates (per person):

Plan/Age Band
PCIP will cover a broad range of health benefits, including primary and specialty care, hospital care, and prescription drugs. All covered benefits are available for you, beginning on your coverage effective date, even if it’s to treat a pre-existing condition – there are no waiting periods. PCIP applicants who are approved to participate in PCIP can choose from three plan options, with different levels of premiums, calendar year deductibles, prescription deductibles and prescription copays. The HSA Option provides an opportunity to open a Health Savings Account, a tax-exempt account where you can deposit funds for eligible medical expenses. Each of the three PCIP plan options provides preventive care (paid at 100%, with no deductible) when you see an in-network doctor and the doctor indicates preventive diagnosis. Included are annual physicals, flu shots, routine mammograms and cancer screenings. For other care, you will pay a deductible before PCIP pays for your health care and prescriptions. After you pay the deductible, you will pay 20% of medical costs in-network. The maximum you will pay out-of-pocket for covered services in a calendar year is $5,950 in-network/$7,000 out-of-network. There is no lifetime maximum or cap on the amount the plan pays for your care. If you apply for PCIP coverage on the government Web site, you will be billed for the premium once your application is approved. You will need to send in your payment in order for your coverage to be effective. Please do not send in the premium before you are billed. Note that your premium may increase if you age into a higher rate tier, or if PCIP adjusts its premiums to any changes in the commercial market.

2/3/2011 Minnesota is named as one of the states most likely
to cut back on Medicaid spending and coverage. The Universal Health Insurance blog discusses the impact on the state’s commercial insurance consumers.

2/2/2011 The Universal Health Insurance Blog published a review of the Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association high risk insurance plan. To our knowledge, this is the most complete review of any high risk health plan available in public media.

12/20/2010 Minnesota was one of two states that has not indicated that it will adapt a version of the American Health Benefit Exchange Model Act that was distributed to the states by the federal Department of Health and Human Services last week. Minnesota’s Governor is quoted as saying that the insurance exchange is a waste of taxpayer money. Freedom Benefits has previously voiced the opinion that the huge amount of money being spent to set up alternate insurance sales system technologies could be better used providing health benefits to the public. We proposed on the Universal Health Insurance blog that adequate commercial insurance sales systems are already in place that could be modified in a public/private partnership to make health insurance more affordable.

5/14/2010 Diabetes Coverage: A new resource to help find health insurance for diabetics in Minnesota is now available at Freedom Benefits.