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State’s new health exchange weighs how best to enroll the uninsured

 

 

 

 
 Outreach and education essential to success
 

Open enrollment for the new MNsure health exchange program is slated to start this October. “This process of creating a Minnesota [health] exchange was a lengthy one,” states Stairstep Foundation CEO Alfred Babington-Johnson, a member of the health insurance exchange advisory task force. “The State of Minnesota was one of the first states” to work on developing an exchange since the Affordable Care Act became law three years ago, beginning with the formation of the task force. According to the state website (see below), “MNsure will be a simple, easy-to-use marketplace” for consumers to find the right health plans that suit their needs through a five-step process: 1) access the website for selection; 2) review health plans; 3) select a plan; 4) check to see if you qualify for tax credits or other health programs; and 5) complete the enrollment process. Babington-Johnson says that at least 31 percent of the state’s uninsured are low-income persons and people of color. Continue Reading →

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Affordable Care Act Updates — ‘Navigators’ to help spread the word on the state’s MNsure health exchange

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

“Under the Affordable Care Act, every plan in the marketplace has to cover a set of 10 essential benefits [such as] prescription drugs, lab services, hospitalization, emergency care, mental health care [and] maternity coverage,” said Families USA Health Policy Analyst Sarah Bagge during a March 22 webcast for reporters, including the MSR.

“There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to applying” for health coverage, she added.  “People will have different preferences in terms of how they want to sign up for health coverage,” whether on line, in person or by phone. “We have to recognize that there are going to be a lot of consumers that are going to need help or have questions,” Bagge explained. The “consumer-friendly” application process as well as other pertinent information will be available in Spanish and other languages besides English, Bagge continued. “We want to make sure that it is as easy as possible, and help needs to be available at every step of the way.”

There are many people who are digitally connected, but to expect every consumer to apply for health coverage on line “is unreasonable,” believes Enroll America Best Practices Institute Director Jenny Sullivan. Her research found that buying health insurance on line “is taking it a step too far for most folk. Continue Reading →

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Minnesota adopts new MNsure health exchange

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed a new health exchange law on March 21, which is expected to enroll an estimated 1.3 Minnesotans starting next year, including 300,000 currently uninsured.  The health exchange is a key provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The new MNsure health exchange will mainly be used by those who can’t get affordable health insurance through their jobs and those on public health plans. Small businesses with 50 or fewer employees also can buy group plans through the exchange for their employees. It is expected to begin open enrollment on October 1, and coverage will take effect on January 1, 2014. As a result, national advocates strongly suggest that these new state marketplaces are “consumer-friendly,” especially for Blacks and other people of color. Continue Reading →

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