Dayton wants MinnesotaCare open to everyone – what that means, and how it would work

MinnesotaCare is currently a health insurance option for low-income Minnesotans.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Gov. Mark Dayton wants to open MinnesotaCare – a health insurance program for low-income Minnesotans – to everyone.

MinnesotaCare is a state-operated health insurance plan that began in 1992 and serves more than 100,000 Minnesotans. But the governor now wants to make buying in open to everyone, no matter their income level.

This wouldn't change how things are done for people who currently qualify for MinnesotaCare, but it would allow every other Minnesotan to take advantage of what the program offers – health insurance coverage, and access to more doctors in greater Minnesota, all at what's advertised as a cheaper price, according to a fact sheet.

How would this work?

Those who buy into MinnesotaCare would get health coverage for roughly $469 per person per month, on average. That's about $69 (or 12 percent) less than the average premium for commercial health plans sold in Minnesota this year, the fact sheet says.

And this program wouldn't cost taxpayers any more money. Those who buy in wouldn't get any state help, and, outside of an initial $12 million for start-up costs, the state wouldn't need to spend any more money on the program.

Arguments for it

Supporters ofthe plan stress that MinnesotaCare has proven to be successful, and opening it up as a "public option" would guarantee Minnesotans at least one high-quality, affordable option for health insurance on the individual market – something that's not currently available for everyone.

"This proposal is affordable, forces no caps on enrollment, and has no geographic restrictions," Rep. Clark Johnson, a Democrat from North Mankato, wrote in an editorial published in the St. Peter Herald. "MinnesotaCare has already served hundreds of thousands of people; it’s time to offer it to all Minnesotans."

Arguments against it

But those who oppose the bill don't think a "public option" is the way to go. National Public Radio says Republicans think opening up MinnesotaCare would lead to fewer providers on the private insurance market, and care wouldn't be as readily available – especially in areas where options are already limited.

During a conference call Monday morning, Democratic lawmakers say they have spoken to Republican colleagues who have indicated they are open to considering Dayton's proposal. Others have said Republicans aren't very likely to agree on a public option for MinnesotaCare.

Health care providers are also likely to oppose the proposal, with the Star Tribune saying they get lower reimbursement rates from MinnesotaCare than they do from private plans.

Dayton's hope is the Legislature will give the OK to this proposal by April 1 so he can sign it. That way it would be enough time for the state to offer the MinnesotaCare buy-in coverage for the 2018 open enrollment period, slated for this fall.

Next Up

minnesota zoo

Minnesota Zoo launches activities to get people embracing nature

The zoo is hosting a pumpkin scavenger hunt and a "Do the Zoo, Not Zoom Day."

teacher, coronavirus, covid-19, school, classroom

25 counties have COVID-19 infection rates associated with distance learning

County-level data is no longer the only source districts have to rely on to make informed decisions about which learning model to use.

Jason Lewis and Tina Smith

Election 2020 preview: Minnesota's Senate race

Incumbent Tina Smith will take on former Congressman Jason Lewis.

President Donald Trump

President Trump railing against capacity limits for Friday's Rochester rally

A contract with the city limits capacity to 250 people, but Trump says they were expecting 25,000.

st. paul shooting - oct. 30

Man injured as his gun goes off during pat-down search from St. Paul police

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the incident.

ballot voting vote

Appeals court changes rules for MN absentee ballots received after Election Day

Pending a further challenge, votes received after 8 p.m. on Election Day may not be counted.

Donald Trump

Confusion over where Trump campaign rally will be held Friday

It sounds like it'll be held at the airport in Rochester.

Screen Shot 2020-10-29 at 3.19.05 PM

This video of the Lowry Hill Tunnel walls being cleaned is oddly satisfying

The tunnel will be closed overnight Thursday for cleaning.

gray wolf

Gray wolf removed from the endangered species list

A decision on whether they can be hunted in Minnesota will come later.

covid saliva test

Minnesota opening its 7th saliva testing location in St. Paul

The tests are free and open to anyone regardless of if they have symptoms.

Related

MN joins lawsuit to stop a ruling that could end MinnesotaCare

MinnesotaCare offers health insurance to low-incomes Minnesotans who don't qualify for Medicaid.

100,000 on MinnesotaCare could lose coverage if AHCA becomes law, commissioner says

Cuts to Medicaid could lead to the elimination of Basic Health Programs like MinnesotaCare.

What Trump's decision to scrap cost-sharing subsidies means for MinnesotaCare

The health program for low-income Minnesotans gets $120M from cost-sharing reductions.

Report: President's crucial decision on healthcare subsidies pushed back 3 months

The subsidies help people get affordable health plans through programs such as MinnesotaCare.

MNsure enrollment closes: Here's how many people bought plans

Nearly two-thirds of people who bought insurance through MNsure got a tax credit.

What the $1.4B budget forecast means for Minnesota

Now lawmakers will have to choose how they want to use this money. Which was a problem last year.