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Gov. Walz, MNsure re-open enrollment period for health insurance

It's to help anyone without health insurance during the COVID-19 crisis.

Gov. Tim Walz and MNsure have announced a 30-day "special enrollment period" for those without health insurance to sign up amid the growing number of coronavirus cases.

The enrollment period begins Monday and runs through Apr. 21, giving uninsured people 30 days to enroll in coverage through MNSure.

As well as offering coverage for the already uninsured, those who have recently lost their health insurance through their employer may also be eligible to enroll so coverage can continue at the end of the individual's work-based insurance.

Those who recently marked a marriage, birth of a child or a move might also qualify for enrollment.

You can find more information about the program at MNsure.org.

"Every Minnesotan deserves access to health coverage during this uncertain time,” said Gov. Walz. "This critical action will help ensure Minnesotans can receive the care they need during the COVID-19 crisis. I want to thank MNsure and the health plans for stepping up. Everyone is doing their part."

While health insurers and providers have said that people won't be charged for COVID-19 testing and diagnosis, that coverage doesn't necessarily extend to any treatment required as a result.

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Although President Trump said earlier this month that insurers had "agreed to waive all co-payments for coronavirus treatments" and prevent surprise billing, the New York Times says he "misspoke" and reports that health plans will actually view treatment for COVID-19 like the treatment for any other illness.

That's why it's important to have insurance cover if you're not already on a health plan, with MNsure CEO Nate Clark saying: "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."

The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates a pneumonia hospitalization can cost more than $20,000, with the average out-of-pocket costs for an insured individual averaging $1,300.

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