MinnesotaCare buy-in gives Minnesotans more health care options

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DFL Legislators participated in a media availability this week to discuss the details of the proposed MinnesotaCare Buy-In with Governor Dayton. Legislators expressed support for the proposal that would expand enrollment eligibility for affordable health insurance coverage through MinnesotaCare. The proposal creates another option for consumers that is competitive, sustainable, and includes access to more doctors, hospitals, and clinics across the state.

MinnesotaCare is a bipartisan solution that has worked for 25 years, providing high-quality, low-cost insurance to more than 100,000 working Minnesotans. MinnesotaCare is currently available only to Minnesotans who do not get insurance through their employer or another public program, and earn less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or approximately $23,700 for an individual and $48,600 for a family of four.

The buy-in proposal would allow individuals and families buying insurance on the individual market, regardless of income, to buy in to MinnesotaCare. Those who purchase the MinnesotaCare buy-in option would have access to tax credits available through MNsure, if they are eligible.

The MinnesotaCare buy-in is not free. Just like health insurance policies offered by commercial health plans, Minnesotans who want to take advantage of this program would purchase their policy and their premiums would pay for the cost of their insurance coverage. After a one-time initial startup cost of $12.9 million, the MinnesotaCare buy-in would require no additional ongoing costs for Minnesota taxpayers. Minnesotans who choose the MinnesotaCare buy-in plan would pay an estimated $469 per person per month, on average—a premium that is 12% or $69 per month less than the current average statewide premium for commercial health plans.

Residents in greater Minnesota would especially benefit from this new option, as Minnesotans in many rural markets have limited options for health insurance. In some cases, in-network care can be more than a county away. The network of physicians and care providers available through MinnesotaCare would offer more families across the state more options to choose and keep their own doctors.