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Update: Individual Health Insurance Landscape in Minnesota

Posted Jun 30, 2014
By Jenifer Dorsey

Update: Individual Health Insurance Landscape in Minnesota

For Obamacare’s first open-enrollment period, Minnesota chose to establish a state-based health insurance exchange. As of now, the state will continue operating its own exchange, MNsure, for 2015.
 
Despite initial technical difficulties and long waits to get through to MNsure customer service, Minnesota exchange enrollment numbers for 2014 seem strong. Between Sept. 30, 2013 and May 1, 2014, the number of uninsured Minnesotans decreased 40.6 percent (180,500)—the lowest rate since the 1990s, when the State of Minnesota began estimating health insurance coverage.1 In a related press release, an infographic compared this reduction as similar to the population of Salt Lake City, Utah, or enough people to fill 14 football fields full of people lined up side by side.

Latest Minnesota exchange enrollment numbers
As of June 16, 2014, MNsure enrollment numbers were as follows2:

  • Medical Assistance (Minnesota’s Medicaid program): 139,948
  • MinnesotaCare (for those without access to affordable health care): 49,768
  • Qualified Health Plans: 51,831
  • Total: 241,547

According to a Nov. 2014 analysis by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, there were an estimated 298,000 potential Marketplace (e.g., the state-based and federally facilitated exchanges) enrollees for Minnesota in 2014.
 
Minnesota health insurance carriers on and off the exchange
Carriers participating in MNsure’s individual and small group health insurance exchanges include the following:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota
  • HealthPartners
  • Medica
  • PreferredOne
  • UCare Minnesota

Carriers are also selling ACA-compliant health insurance away from the MNsure exchange. These carriers are as follows:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota
  • HealthPartners
  • Medica
  • PreferredOne

While all health insurance plans sold on and away from the exchanges are required to adhere to the same ACA provisions, those sold in the private marketplace do not qualify for premium tax credits or cost-sharing subsidies. However, those sold in the private marketplace may have more robust provider networks—read “Obamacare Exchange Tip: Check the Network Before You Buy a Health Plan” or talk to your health insurance carrier or agent to learn more about provider networks when choosing a health insurance plan.
 
More carriers may join or leave the state-based and federally facilitated health insurance exchanges for 2015. We will learn more as 2015 open enrollment nears (as of now, it begins Nov. 15, 2014).  
 
What should Minnesotans who missed 2014 open enrollment do?
Open enrollment for 2014 health insurance coverage is now closed. However, those with qualifying life events may be eligible for a special enrollment period. Visit MNsure.org or contact a health insurance agent to determine whether or not you qualify for special enrollment.
 
Those looking for temporary health insurance coverage until their 2015 health insurance begins can visit healthedeals.com or call 888-839-7679 to talk to a health insurance agent about their options.
 
Note: Temporary health insurance plans are not ACA-compliant and will not prevent you from owing a tax penalty; however, they do offer benefits to help pay for unexpected medical expenses related to accidents and illnesses.


1 Mnsure. “Affordable Care Act, MNsure Cut Minnesota’s Uninsured Rate Nearly in Half [Press Release].” June 11, 2014.
2 MNsure. “Enrollment Update.” June 16, 2014.

Jenifer Dorsey is a freelance writer whose specialties include health and fitness, wellness, sports and recreation. She is a competitive amateur track cyclist who also enjoys mountain biking, hiking, camping and other outdoor adventure. Jenifer received a B.A. in journalism from Columbia College Chicago and is an MFA candidate at Naropa University. She lives in Colorado.

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Author Bio:

Jenifer Dorsey is a freelance writer whose specialties include health and fitness, wellness, sports and recreation. She is a competitive amateur track cyclist who also enjoys mountain biking, hiking, camping and other outdoor adventure. Jenifer received a B.A. in journalism from Columbia College Chicago and is an MFA candidate at Naropa University. She lives in Colorado.

Author: Jenifer Dorsey