To Reduce Rural Health Care Costs, Senator Sparks Says Give Consumers Option of MinnesotaCare Buy-In

St. Paul, Minn. – Senator Dan Sparks (DFL-Austin) this week announced his support for MinnesotaCare Buy-In – a proposal to reduce health care costs by giving all Minnesotans an option to buy in to MinnesotaCare, a state program that for 26 years has provided affordable, comprehensive care for eligible individuals and families.

MinnesotaCare Buy-In would reduce costs and improve access for an estimated 100,000 more Minnesotans who purchase their own health insurance on the individual market. Unlike traditional MinnesotaCare enrollees who receive subsidized coverage, individuals who choose MinnesotaCare Buy-In would pay their own way – meaning the cost of their premiums would pay for their coverage.

“The lack of options for affordable, comprehensive health care in southern Minnesota is one of the top issues I hear about from constituents,” said Sen. Sparks. “We have one insurance carrier and one provider, so people need more options as soon as possible. After taking a hard look at the MinnesotaCare Buy-In proposal, I believe it is our best chance to do right by the people of southern Minnesota this year. There is no silver bullet when it comes to improving our health care system, but I think MinnesotaCare Buy-In puts us in position to make a positive difference in a lot of lives.”

The need for MinnesotaCare Buy-In is underscored by recently released data showing that Minnesota’s uninsured rate increased by 46 percent last year alone, due in part to rising insurance costs, leaving approximately 349,000 Minnesotans without coverage in 2017.

“I have heard from farmers who pay more than $40,000 out-of-pocket before they get any help from their health insurance, while other farmers cannot afford any coverage at all,” said Minnesota Farmers Union President Gary Wertish at a Capitol press conference yesterday. “A MinnesotaCare Buy-In would provide another option to help ensure that farmers and other small business owners can get the quality health insurance coverage they need.”

MinnesotaCare Buy-In would expand health insurance choices for families across the state, especially those in Greater Minnesota. It is estimated that approximately 100,000 Minnesotans would enroll in MinnesotaCare Buy-In if given the choice. By leveraging the state’s competitive bidding process, the State of Minnesota could strike a better bargain for these Minnesotans – delivering lower health insurance costs for Minnesota families at no ongoing cost to taxpayers.

Senator Dan Sparks
Dan Sparks represents District 27, which includes all or portions of Dodge, Faribault, Freeborn, Mower, and Steele counties in the southeastern part of the state.

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