Minnesota

via MNsure:

Minnesotans will see expanded tax credits through MNsure beginning today

  • Savings will be applied this spring and summer; MNsure extends special enrollment period through July 16

ST. PAUL, Minn.—Recent changes to the Affordable Care Act made through the American Rescue Plan mean more Minnesotans will be able to access tax credits through MNsure. The changes lower premiums for most people who are currently enrolled through MNsure and expand access to tax credits to many Minnesotans who previously made too much money to qualify for financial help. Minnesotans who are not currently enrolled in a plan through MNsure, including those who are uninsured, have until July 16 to enroll in coverage.

via MNsure:

MNsure Statement Regarding Federal Changes to the Affordable Care Act

ST. PAUL, Minn.—On Thursday, March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, which includes several key health care provisions to the Affordable Care Act that will expand benefits available to Minnesotans through MNsure. This includes an increase in the amount of tax credits MNsure enrollees receive to help them pay for their premiums and an expansion of tax credits to middle-income Minnesotans who previously fell outside income thresholds for financial help. This increase in benefits means Minnesotans who purchase health insurance through MNsure will be able to find a plan with premiums that cost no more than 8.5% of their household income.

My biggest takeaway from the press releases below is that everyone will be made whole (that is, those eligible for additional subsidies or newly-eligible for subsidies at all will receive them in full), but that it may take anywhere from a few weeks to several months for that to happen, so cool your jets.

Covered California:

Covered California Hails the Signing of the American Rescue Plan Which Will Benefit Millions

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California’s executive director, Peter V. Lee, issued this statement following President Joe Biden’s signing of the American Rescue Plan. The landmark legislation provides new financial help to people who receive their health insurance through Affordable Care Act marketplaces like Covered California. The measure will lower health care costs by providing new and expanded subsidies to more Americans than ever before.

via MNsure:

Over 2,200 Minnesotans have signed up for health coverage through MNsure's special enrollment period so far

  • Special enrollment runs through May 17

ST. PAUL, Minn.—2,285 Minnesotans have signed up for private health insurance coverage since the start of MNsure's special enrollment period on February 16. This three-month special enrollment period, which runs through Monday, May 17, is available to any Minnesotan who is uninsured or who is not currently enrolled in a qualified health plan through MNsure. 

Minnesotans who want coverage to start on April 1 must enroll by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, March 31. Plans selected during the month of April will have an effective date of May 1, and plans selected by the May 17 deadline will have an effective date of June 1.

via MNsure:

Last Chance for March 1 Coverage Through MNsure; Special Enrollment Period Continues Through May 17

February 24, 2021

ST. PAUL, Minn.—Minnesotans looking for private health insurance coverage through MNsure that begins on March 1 need to enroll by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, February 28. Plans selected in March will have an effective date of April 1. MNsure's special enrollment period continues through Monday, May 17, and is available to any Minnesotan who is uninsured or who is not currently enrolled in a qualified health plan through MNsure.

“If you’re looking for health insurance coverage, be sure to check out your options at MNsure.org and get access to comprehensive coverage as soon as possible or prevent a gap in current coverage,” said MNsure CEO Nate Clark. “MNsure's special enrollment period continues through May 17, but Sunday, February 28, is your last chance to get coverage starting in March. Don’t miss out."

Instructions to enroll and frequently asked questions about this special enrollment period can be found here.

Help is available:

This was already announced earlier, but here's the formal press release with some more details for Minnesota residents:

MNsure three-month special enrollment period begins Tuesday

  • Interested Minnesotans should visit MNsure.org to learn more

ST. PAUL, Minn.—Starting Tuesday, MNsure, Minnesota's health insurance marketplace, will open a three-month special enrollment period. During this time, any Minnesotan who is not currently enrolled in a plan through MNsure, including those who are uninsured, can take advantage of this enrollment opportunity. MNsure's special enrollment period runs from Tuesday, February 16, to Monday, May 17. Those who enroll in a plan during the special enrollment period will have coverage that begins on the first of the following month. For example, Minnesotans who select a plan and enroll in February will have a March 1 start date.

via MNsure:

Statement of Nate Clark, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), MNsure

Re: New executive orders signed by President Biden today that support state-run ACA insurance exchanges like MNsure

ST. PAUL, Minn.—"MNsure welcomes this news and the Biden Administration’s efforts to strengthen the Affordable Care Act to increase access to quality, comprehensive health coverage. As the nation continues to fight the deadliest pandemic in a century, the changes President Biden is making will benefit Minnesotans who need the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have health care coverage.

"President Biden’s executive order directs federal agencies to look at ways to protect and strengthen access to health insurance and increase protections for those who have preexisting conditions, including complications related to COVID-19.

via MNsure:

ST. PAUL, Minn.—The Minnesota Insulin Safety Net Program was created to help Minnesotans who face difficulty affording their insulin. The program is made up of two parts: the urgent need program and the continuing need program.

  • The urgent need program—eligible Minnesotans can receive a 30-day supply of insulin immediately at their pharmacy for no more than $35.
  • The The continuing need program—eligible Minnesotans can receive up to a year supply of insulin for no more than $50 per 90-day refill.

To be eligible for the urgent need program, you must—

This Just In from MNsure, Minnesota's state-based ACA exchange:

MNsure sees 4% increase in signups during this year's open enrollment period

  • More than 155,000 Minnesotans found coverage through MNsure.org

ST. PAUL, Minn.—From November 1 to December 22, 2020, more than 155,000 Minnesotans found health insurance coverage during MNsure's eighth open enrollment period. A total of 122,269 Minnesotans signed up for private health plans through the exchange, which is 4,729 more than the previous open enrollment period.

It's worth noting that the way MNsure categorizes ACA exchange enrollees is slightly different than how CMS does...according to the official 2020 Open Enrollment Period Report Public Use File, Minnesota only actually enrolled 110,042 people during last year's OEP. I'm not sure what happened to the 12,227 QHP selection difference, but assuming this year's 122.3K figure holds by CMS, it means they're actually up 11.1% year over year, not just 4.0%.

A reminder from MNsure, Minnesota's ACA exchange:

MNsure's Open Enrollment Period Ends Tuesday, December 22 at Midnight

December 21, 2020

ST. PAUL, Minn.—Minnesotans looking for private health insurance beginning January 1, 2021, have until 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, December 22 to enroll in coverage through MNsure.

"Don't miss your chance to get health insurance coverage in the new year," said MNsure CEO Nate Clark. "Come to MNsure.org to compare your options and see if you qualify for financial benefits to lower the cost of your insurance—most Minnesotans do! Get enrolled today and have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ve got comprehensive health coverage."

MNsure's Contact Center is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday, December 21 and 8 a.m. to midnight on Tuesday, December 22.

Most people qualify for financial help. Minnesotans can see their estimated eligibility for financial help by using MNsure's plan comparison tool.

It's turned into an annual tradition: The official annual ACA Open Enrollment Period (OEP) runs from November 1st - December 15th, but most of the state-based ACA exchanges have later deadlines. hThen, right around the 12/15 point, it begins: One by one, some of the state-based exchanges announce further extensions of their deadlines to #GetCovered for the upcoming year.

In some cases they simply bump out the deadline for coverage starting in January, with the final "hard" deadline for February or March coverage staying where it is. In other cases they were never allowing Open Enrollment start dates past January to begin with, so it's the hard deadline which is being extended.

In any event, here's this year's batch of announcements; note that this list could grow longer over the next week or two:

A reminder from MNsure, Minnesota's ACA exchange:

The Final Countdown; MNsure's Open Enrollment Period Ends December 22 at Midnight

ST. PAUL, Minn.—Minnesotans looking for health insurance coverage starting January 1, 2021, have until 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, December 22 to enroll in coverage through MNsure.org. The federal health insurance exchange, HealthCare.gov, ends its enrollment period today, but Minnesotans have an extra week to enroll through MNsure.

"There is still time to get 2021 health care coverage through MNsure," said MNsure CEO Nate Clark. "Minnesotans have through December 22 to sign up for comprehensive health insurance and access the financial help that makes it more affordable. But, don’t wait! Visit MNsure.org today so you can be sure you’re covered in the new year."

Need help? MNsure's Contact Center will provide extended hours leading up to the deadline:

Reminder from MNsure, Minnesota's ACA exchange:

Compare plans through MNsure and see if you can save

  • More plan options available this year than ever before

ST. PAUL, Minn.—MNsure is reminding all Minnesotans, regardless of insurance status, to compare plans before the December 22 open enrollment deadline. Individuals who currently have health insurance elsewhere, are uninsured, or are already enrolled through MNsure are encouraged to see if they can save money. With new plan options available in every county in Minnesota, MNsure recommends using the plan comparison tool to view plans side by side and explore details about premiums, deductibles, out-of-pocket costs and more. Minnesotans who sign up by the deadline will have coverage beginning on January 1, 2021.

This isn't technically ACA-related, but it's certainly healthcare related and it was posted via the Minnesota ACA exchange, MNsure:

ST. PAUL, Minn.—The Minnesota Insulin Safety Net Program, launched earlier this year, provides a pathway for Minnesotans in urgent need of insulin (less than a 7-day supply on hand) to access the life-saving drug through their pharmacy. The program—implemented by MNsure, the state's health insurance marketplace, and the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy—was created to help Minnesotans facing difficulty affording their insulin.

The Insulin Safety Net Program is made up of two parts: 1) The urgent need program for eligible Minnesotans to receive a once-per-year 30-day supply of insulin immediately at their pharmacy for no more than a $35 copay; and 2) The continuing need program for eligible Minnesotans to receive up to a year supply of insulin for no more than $50 per 90-day refill.

Interested individuals should visit MNinsulin.org to see if they qualify and learn how to apply.

Who qualifies?

via MNsure, Minnesota's ACA exchange:

MNsure Open Enrollment Runs Through December 22

November 18, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ST. PAUL, Minn.—Since the start of MNsure's open enrollment period on November 1, nearly 102,000 Minnesotans have signed up for 2021 private health insurance coverage – approximately 10% more than this time last year.

MNsure's open enrollment period runs until December 22, 2020, a week longer than the federal open enrollment period.

“Every Minnesotan should have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you've got comprehensive health coverage, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said MNsure CEO Nate Clark. “You can sign up through MNsure.org through December 22 for coverage beginning January 1, 2021. Don’t delay. Contact a MNsure-certified assister who can walk you through the enrollment process.”

2021 Minnesota health insurance rates continue to show stability for another year; expanded consumer choice across the state

ST. PAUL, Minn.—The Minnesota Department of Commerce announced final 2021 Minnesota health insurance rates today, which will remain stable across the state. For the 2021 plan year, 80 counties have three or more health insurance companies offering plans on the exchange, compared to just 31 counties with three or more in 2020. Ninety-seven percent of Minnesotans buying health insurance through MNsure will have an average of 30 different qualified health plans and three or more carriers to choose from.

Five health insurance companies are partnering with MNsure for the 2021 plan year: BluePlus, HealthPartners, Medica, UCare, and newly added Quartz, a Madison-based insurer offering plans in some southeastern Minnesota counties. Quartz will be offering 14 qualified health plans on the exchange. Additionally, dental plans will be available from Delta Dental and Dentegra.

via MNsure:

With recent reports illustrating the growing number of uninsured Americans across the country, MNsure is reminding Minnesotans that there are options. For those who have lost their health insurance, seen a change in income, or experienced a qualifying life event, enrollment opportunities may be available.

"The last couple of months has brought tremendous uncertainty to many families across the state," said MNsure CEO Nate Clark. "It's important that Minnesotans know there are enrollment opportunities available if they lose their health insurance. MNsure is here to help."

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 100,000 Minnesotans have come through MNsure to find health insurance coverage.

For new customers, you may be eligible to enroll if:

I'm glad to see MNsure getting the word out about this issue but it's disturbing that they felt a need to do so...

CONSUMER ALERT: How to find MNsure online and make sure you're buying comprehensive coverage

ST. PAUL, Minn.—Searching for MNsure on the internet can yield misleading results. If you search for MNsure, you may see ads and websites that appear to be the official MNsure website but are not. Some of these sites collect your contact information and either bombard you with phone calls or try to sell you sub-standard health insurance. Here’s how to be sure you’re working with MNsure and purchasing comprehensive health care coverage:

Those eligible for the urgent need program must:

Check the website URL: make sure you’re clicking on MNsure.org when using a search engine or simply type MNsure.org into your address bar.

via MNsure...this is from a couple of weeks ago but it's still important for all Minnesota residents to know!

ST. PAUL, Minn.—The Minnesota Insulin Safety Net Program launched today, July 1, 2020, allowing Minnesotans in urgent need of insulin (less than a 7-day supply on hand) to access the lifesaving drug through their pharmacy. The program – implemented by MNsure, the state's health insurance marketplace, and the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy – was created to help Minnesotans facing difficulty affording their insulin. 

The Insulin Safety Net Program is made up of two parts: 1) The urgent need program for eligible Minnesotans to receive a once-per-year 30-day supply of insulin immediately at their pharmacy for no more than a $35 copay; and 2) The continuing need program for eligible Minnesotans to receive up to a year supply of insulin for no more than $50 per 90-day refill.

Interested individuals should visit MNinsulin.org to see if they qualify and learn how to apply.

The good news out of Minnesota is that the Commerce Dept. has published the preliminary 2021 average rate changes for both the individual and small group markets in a simple table.

The bad news is that they haven't published any of the actual actuarial memos or templates which include the two other critical pieces of data I need to run my analysis: The current effectuated enrollee totals for each carrier, and what (if any) impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on the proposed rate changes.

I was able to estimate the former by looking at MNsure's June executive board meeting slide deck, which breaks out the on-exchange enrollment by carrier by percentage. Unfortunately, this doesn't include off-exhange enrollment. Minnesota's total individual market was around 155,000 people a year ago, so the odds are that nearly 1/3 of the total market is missing below. I also have no idea about any COVID-19 factor in the rate filings yet.

via MNsure (this was actually posted a couple of weeks ago but I missed it):

ST. PAUL, Minn.—99,688 Minnesotans have come to MNsure.org and enrolled in private health insurance through a special enrollment period (SEP) or received eligibility for a public assistance program (Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare) since March 1. As expected, sign-ups across all programs have been driven by concerns amid the pandemic.

"It’s never been more important to know you’re covered. That’s why we are so glad to have been able to help almost 100,000 Minnesotans gain access to comprehensive health care coverage," said CEO Nate Clark. "But we know there are others out there who are currently uninsured and may qualify to sign up. If you’ve recently lost your employer-sponsored health insurance, had an income change, or have another qualifying life event, come to MNsure.org to see if you’re eligible."

via MNsure:

MNsure offers enrollment opportunity for Minnesotans newly eligible for financial help due to decrease in income

  • MNsure is the only place to get financial help to lower the cost of health insurance

Starting May 11, 2020, MNsure is offering an ongoing special enrollment period for Minnesotans who experience a decrease in household income and become newly eligible for advanced premium tax credits (APTC). Those looking to enroll will need to have had health insurance that meets the standards in the Affordable Care Act, also known as minimum essential coverage (MEC), for one or more days in the 60 days immediately preceding their decrease in household income.

Minnesotans must act within 60 days after they experience a decrease in household income to be eligible. 

After a TON of tedious work porting data over into my county-level COVID-19 tracking spreadsheet, I've completed charts breaking out confirmed cases in two additional states: Minnesota and Texas.

Minnesota was an obvious choice, given that it was the closest swing state won by Donald Trump. Texas may seem like an unusual choice given that it's considered to be a solid red state and that it hasn't seen the type of ugly outbreak of COVID-19 (yet) that several other states have, but I happened to discover that unlike states like Florida and Georgia, Texas's Health Dept. dashboard makes it quite easy to download the historic case and fatality data I need to compile these charts, so I decided to go for it. The results in both states are interesting for different reasons.

via MNsure:

MNsure releases Request for Proposal for the Minnesota Insulin Safety Net Program’s Public Awareness Campaign

  • Submissions accepted until May 26, 2020

ST. PAUL, Minn.—On April 15, 2020, Governor Walz signed the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act to provide relief to Minnesotans struggling to afford their insulin. MNsure, the state’s health insurance exchange, is responsible for a creating a public awareness campaign to promote the Insulin Safety Net Program. The public awareness campaign will inform Minnesotans in urgent need of insulin how to access the state’s safety net program, and highlight the availability of insulin manufacturers' patient assistance programs.​ 

The request for proposal (RFP) seeks proposals from qualified firms or contractors capable of producing a statewide public awareness campaign to increase awareness of the Insulin Safety Net Program. The anticipated time frame of the campaign is July 2020 through June 2023.

via MNsure, Minnesota's ACA exchange:

More than 9,400 Minnesotans Enrolled in Private Health Insurance Coverage During MNsure's COVID-19 Emergency Special Enrollment Period

ST. PAUL, Minn.—Last month, Governor Walz announced a 30-day emergency special enrollment period (SEP) for individuals who were uninsured in the wake of COVID-19. During that time, 9,482 Minnesotans enrolled in private health insurance plans through MNsure. The SEP ran from March 23 through April 21. Additionally, more than 13,700 applied for public health insurance programs during that time period.

Every Minnesotan deserves access to the health care they need—especially during the unprecedented time of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Tim Walz. “I am happy that we were able to offer the special enrollment period so more than 23,000 uninsured Minnesotans were able to enroll in health coverage. Minnesotans without coverage should keep coming to MNsure to see if they are eligible for other special enrollments or publicly funded health care programs with year-round enrollment like Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare.”

via press release from MNsure:

Don’t Wait: MNsure's COVID-19 Emergency Special Enrollment Period for Uninsured Minnesotans ends Tuesday at Midnight

Uninsured Minnesotans have until 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21, to enroll in coverage through MNsure’s COVID-19 Emergency Special Enrollment Period. Those who enroll through this SEP will have coverage that retroactively begins April 1. Minnesotans can shop and compare plans and see if they qualify for financial help to pay for their plan by using MNsure’s plan comparison tool.

via MNsure, this includes their ongoing ACA exchange Special Enrollment Period but also explains other options for Minnesotans as well:

Health Insurance Options through MNsure during COVID-19

April 7, 2020

ST. PAUL, Minn.—MNsure, the state’s health insurance exchange, reminds Minnesotans who have recently lost a job, experienced a reduction in hours, or are otherwise uninsured to visit MNsure.org to get connected to health insurance. On MNsure.org, Minnesotans looking for health insurance coverage can compare plans and see if they qualify for financial help to cover the cost of insurance premiums or low-cost or no-cost health insurance either through Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare.

Here’s what you need to know

Uninsured? Sign up now.

This just in via MNsure...

MNsure Announces Special Enrollment Period for Uninsured Minnesotans in Response to Growing COVID-19 Concerns

ST. PAUL, Minn.—Today MNsure announced a 30-day special enrollment period (SEP) for qualified individuals who are currently without insurance, in response to the potential growth of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases. This SEP that begins Monday, March 23, and runs through April 21, will allow uninsured individuals 30 days to enroll in health insurance coverage through MNsure.org.

“As more cases of COVID-19 are diagnosed throughout the state, we want to make sure every Minnesotan has the security of health insurance to ensure they can get the care they need if they contract this serious illness,” said MNsure CEO Nate Clark. “Uninsured Minnesotans can come to MNsure.org to sign up for coverage.”

Governor Tim Walz recently declared a peacetime emergency in response to the pandemic and stressed the importance of all Minnesotans to take care to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

SUMMARY OF #COVID-19 SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIODS:

ALL OTHER STATES: You may qualify for a 60-day Special Enrollment Period (SEP) if you've recently lost (or will soon lose) your employer-based healthcare coverage, or if you've experienced other Qualifying Life Events (QLE) such as getting marrinew yorked/divorced, moving, giving birth/adopting a child, getting out of prison, turning 26 etc. For these SEPs you may have to provide documentation to verify your QLE. Visit HealthCare.Gov or your state's ACA exchange website for details on the process.

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