More people are getting financial help buying health insurance, MNsure says

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Seven out of every 10 people who have bought health insurance through MNsure this month qualified for financial help that's only available through the marketplace.

The state-run health insurance exchange said Monday 6,864 people have enrolled in qualified health plans through Nov. 17 – and of those, 72 percent are eligible for what's called the "advanced premium tax credit."

That compares to about 55 percent of those enrollees last year, MNsure says.

The "advance premium tax credit" is only available if you get a plan through MNsure, and it's based on income and family size. People who are eligible (see a chart here) can choose to get the credit in advance, which makes the monthly insurance premium cheaper; or apply it all at once when filing for a federal tax return, the MNsure website explains.

Heading into open enrollment, MNsure touted the tax credits as a reason to go through the exchange (rather than buying directly from insurers; this does not affect health insurance you get through an employer.)

MNsure also said more people would qualify this year – partly because monthly premiums were expected to go up on average.

“For weeks we have been saying that MNsure is the only place to compare plans side-by-side and to qualify for financial help that can lessen or even eliminate large premium increases," MNsure CEO Allison O’Toole said in the news release. "I believe these enrollment numbers show that Minnesotans are getting the message and are taking advantage of all the benefits available to them through MNsure.”

If you want a rundown on how insurance and MNsure works, check out these five tips and explanations.

More enrollment numbers

O’Toole also said open enrollment – going on since Nov. 2 – has been "strong and stable."

A total of 23,181 Minnesotans have signed up through MNsure. In addition to the 6,864 people who have qualified health plans, another 5,091 qualified for MinnesotaCare, and another 11,226 for Medical Assistance. Plus, 363 added qualified plan dental coverage.

MinnesotaCare and Medical Assistance help provide health insurance for thousands of lower-income Minnesotans – click here for more info.

Open enrollment runs through Jan. 31.

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