TABLE OF CONTENTS
Minnesotans have several affordable health coverage options. While most people obtain coverage through an employer, you can purchase a policy from an insurance company, enroll in MinnesotaCare (Medicaid), or sign up for Medicare.
This guide covers all of your affordable health insurance options in greater detail.
Minnesota has a state-wide health care marketplace. Signing up for coverage requires you to create an account on MNsure.org. Following the instructions provided through the website, enter your contact information, create your security questions and choose a password that you can remember.
Your application requires the birth date, full name, and Social Security number for each person you want to insure. Make sure you have this information available ahead of time. MNsure.org automatically determines if you qualify for financial aid, the Advanced Premium Tax Credit, and gives you the option to sign up for MinnesotaCare if you are eligible.
There are a few questions that you need to answer on your application:
Once you’ve completed your application, you can shop for insurance. The exchange gives you information about each plan, such as your monthly premium, deductible, copayments for medical services, and plan type. Then, when you find the right plan, all you need to do is complete your enrollment.
The following insurance companies offer affordable health insurance coverage in Minnesota:
There’s no difference when it comes to enrolling for individual coverage versus family coverage. However, before you search for a policy, you’ll need to review your needs, preferences, and budget. Consider what type of plan would suit your needs most, the maximum deductible you can afford to pay, and how much you can pay per month in premiums.
You’ll have the most health insurance flexibility when you’re just shopping for yourself. If you’re a young and healthy individual, you might not need comprehensive coverage and a low deductible. Just remember that you need to meet your annual deductible before you can rely on your insurance coverage to reduce any medical expenses you may incur.
There are three different types of plans that you can choose from. The type that is best for you depends on how flexible you are and what you need most in a plan.
Shopping for family coverage requires you to be more mindful of the needs of every person you plan to include under your policy. You want to balance the cost of your policy with the benefits you receive so that you can reduce the total cost of your family’s health care. For example, you might not need ongoing medical treatment for a chronic condition. However, your spouse or child might need access to a greater level of care than you do.
You might save more money with lower coinsurance requirements than you would pay for a more expensive policy. You should also consider how high of a deductible you can afford each year. Since you need to meet your deductible before an insurance company covers your expenses, you want a deductible that isn’t too taxing on your finances.
The type of plan is an important consideration as well. HMO plans are often much cheaper, so if you review the network and feel that you have access to all of the specialists your family needs in the network, you could save some money. Moreover, try to ensure that the network gives you access to a wide range of specialists just in case you wind up needing to see a type of doctor you didn’t originally anticipate.
The exchange divides health insurance into four categories based on the type of coverage you receive and how expensive the policies are: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Factors that determine a plan’s tier include your annual deductible, monthly premium, and copayment requirements. So before you try to enroll in the cheapest plan available, you should consider what you’re getting in return for your premiums and the total cost of your health care.
|Average premiums in Minnesota||2018||2019||2020||2021||2022|
|Most affordable Bronze plan||$315||$271||$256||$251||$290|
|Most affordable Silver plan||$370||$309||$294||$295||$318|
|Most affordable Gold plan||$461||$364||$355||$362||$384|
Minnesota offers two coverage options for individuals and families who can’t afford adequate insurance coverage: MinnesotaCare (Medicaid) and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Minnesota manages MinnesotaCare with assistance from the federal government, while the CHIP program helps families cover their children when they don’t qualify for Medicaid.
MinnesotaCare is offered to residents whose income is considered low or very low. In addition to remaining under the income threshold for your household size, you must be:
MinnesotaCare provides coverage for routine medical appointments, diagnostic tests, approved outpatient procedures, and hospital stays.
To be able to apply for MinnesotaCare, your income must remain below the required threshold. This threshold is based on your household size and your total household income. For example, an individual may not make more than $17,131 per year to qualify. In comparison, a family of four still qualifies as long as their household income is less than $35,245 per year.
The majority of residents in need of MinnesotaCare can apply for it using MNsure.org. However, if you’re over the age of 65 or have a permanent physical disability, you may be required to apply for MinnesotaCare by visiting the Department of Human Services portal instead.
The Minnesota CHIP program provides health care to children across the state whose families are unable to place them on family plans or afford an individual policy. CHIP covers the cost of routine doctor visits, medications, mental health services, developmental therapy, dental care, eye care, immunizations, and emergency care. It also provides coverage for prenatal care for pregnant women. You can check your eligibility for the program through the state insurance exchange.
Minnesotans have a number of options to choose from when it comes to Medicare.
If you choose Original Medicare, you can also purchase supplemental plans to extend your coverage. Medicare Part D covers prescription medications, while Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) covers deductibles, copays, and other out-of-pocket Medicare costs.
You’re eligible for Medicare if you’re a United States citizen or a permanent resident over the age of 65 or have a qualifying disability.
If you start receiving your Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits at least four months before you turn 65, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Medicare. Otherwise, you must fill out an application online or contact your local Social Security office. You can enroll in Medicare during the following periods:
If you need help finding the right Medicare Advantage plan to suit your needs or have general questions about Medicare, you can access additional resources through the Minnesota State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) or the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
Minnesota has some of the strictest rules in the nation regarding short-term insurance. Insurance companies may not provide temporary policies for longer than 185 days in Minnesota. You’re also not allowed to renew a policy unless you’re in the hospital when it expires. If this is the case, you’re only allowed to renew the policy until the end of your hospital stay. You can purchase a policy with a different insurer but you can’t be covered by short-term plans for more than 365 days out of every 555 days.
Short-term policies don’t come with the same consumer protections as those offered on the healthcare marketplace. Insurance companies may refuse to cover preexisting conditions, increase your rates based on your medical history, or deny coverage. If you’re pregnant, your prenatal care might not be covered by a temporary policy.
The state doesn’t require Minnesotans to purchase health insurance. While the Affordable Care Act does include a federal mandate that all United States citizens have health coverage, Congress eliminated the tax penalty for not obtaining insurance in 2019.
You’re not required to use the state marketplace and are free to buy an individual policy. But, if you want to take advantage of the Advanced Premium Tax Credit, the only way to do so is to enroll through the marketplace.
The most popular form of cost-sharing plans are faith-based plans. In a faith-based plan, members share health care costs with other members. You don’t need to be a member of a particular denomination (or even religious), to participate in a plan. While these plans can be relatively low-cost, most faith-based plans don’t cover pre-existing conditions, mental health care, or pregnancy. Since the federal government and Minnesota don’t consider them health care plans, these plans aren’t required to meet Affordable Care Act standards. If you would like to join a faith-based plan, make sure you ask lots of questions before enrolling.
Minnesota uses its own exchange, and you can enroll for coverage by visiting MNsure.org. Minnesota is one of 14 states in the country that uses its own exchange instead of the federal healthcare marketplace.
Health savings accounts and flexible savings accounts are excellent supplements for insurance coverage. Still, they aren’t adequate to replace health coverage entirely. Health insurance dramatically reduces the cost of your care. But, if you’re required to pay for expensive medical treatments, your coinsurance requirement may still be costly. An HSA or FSA can help you plan for these expenses.
Short-term disability coverage helps when you cannot return to work for a short period because of a medical concern. It pays for things like your regular bills, food, and a rent or mortgage payment. Health insurance pays for your actual medical care. Hence, a short-term disability plan works as a supplemental plan rather than an insurance replacement.
Long-term disability plans are similar in scope to short-term disability plans. They help you with your out-of-pocket expenses if you’re permanently disabled and unable to work due to your injuries or medical conditions. Having health insurance protects you from large medical bills when you require ongoing care and state-of-the-art treatments.
The CHIP program covers children and pregnant women for preventative care, emergency room visits, prescription medications, dental care, vision, and other medically necessary procedures and therapies. Pregnant women also receive coverage for prenatal care throughout their pregnancies.