Tracker Pixel for Entry

​A year of MNsure

by Amy Borgman | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Wellness | November 12th, 2014

Open enrollment begins again Nov. 15

Minnesotans know that MNsure wasn’t perfect when it was enacted last October. There was a media bombardment attacking its website issues, long wait time, data breaches, limitations on plans, fraud, administrative scandals, etc. Today, however, the program has smoothed over the rough patches.

At the Family Service Center of Clay County in Moorhead, there are nine trained assisters through a group called Lakes and Prairies Community Action Partnership. There is also one navigator, Lynn Isaacson, and she is the only employee taking full-time appointments. She’s basically the office MNsure pro. In October, she met with 106 individuals regarding MNsure and that’s been the average number of people she has seen every month since the program’s inception.

“Sometimes, at the end of the day, I can’t even remember who I saw at 8 o’clock,” Isaacson said.

Isaacson and her supervisor, Rebecca Johnson, have been very pleased with the program’s improvements over the past few months and anticipate more positive changes to come. The state program has gone from 30 call assisters on staff to 300, so MNsure is growing stronger while creating jobs. Administrators also gathered consumer and staff feedback over the summer to benefit this year’s open enrollment process.

There are three types of plans available through the assistance of MNsure. The first two are public assistance kind of programs, Medical Assistance (MA) or Medicaid – this is generally for people with lower incomes or fall under the federal poverty line (around $12,000 a year). The next one is Minnesotacare for people with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, or upwards of $23,000 a year. Those two forms of assistance are available year-round. The special enrollment period refers to the third tier of assistance for families or individuals seeking a Quality Health Plan (or QHP) and is the plan that gets politicized the most.

QHP enrollment is from Nov. 15 to Feb. 15, and plans can begin from Jan. 1 to March 1. Last year the open enrollment deadline was pushed back to April due to confusion and procrastination. Isaacson feels confident that enrollment dates won’t be extended like they were last year. The MNsure staff through Lakes and Prairies have been making efforts to remind the community of the upcoming deadlines.

“Lakes and Prairies is granted to do community outreach to remind people about open enrollment dates … There are also grantees throughout the state of Minnesota that do it locally in their communities,” Johnson noted. If someone qualified for open enrollment last year, then they will receive a notice in the mail letting them know it’s time to renew their plans or leave them as is.

Comparing the negatives and positives of the program and the overall work, Isaacson and Johnson both agreed that the positives outweigh the negatives. They are overwhelmed everyday by the positive impact medical assistance has on families and individuals in need.

“I remember a middle-aged couple with kids, leaving with tears in their eyes because they had significant health problems and prior to getting insurance here they were paying a lot for a very high deductible plan because they had a preexisting condition …

“They were bracing themselves for a very high payment because they heard that MNsure had really expensive plans and they thought it was going to be terrible and they ended up saving $700 a month plus had a much lower deductible … It was just incredible. It was literally a life-saving thing for them.”

As far as homeless people in the Fargo-Moorhead area, Isaacson said, “The shelters are booked and they’re sometimes turning people away. The bright side is that those people who are trying to get their lives back together, there are a lot of pieces involved in that, but being able to go to the doctor is important.”

After helping many Somali families, refugees from Iraq, Kurdish families and others new to the area, Isaacson has developed a desire to learn different languages. Though, interpreters are available through the Cultural Diversity Center in Fargo. MNsure also has a language line so that a navigator can connect families to a translator.

Things to know:

- Apply at www.mnsure.org from 6 a.m. to midnight anyday.

- There are no income qualifications to apply for MNsure.

- Be sure to remember your username and password.

- Read the tips for completion and other useful resources on the website.

- Use recommended browsers and clear browser history once in a while.

- Don’t attempt to complete on a tablet or a smartphone.

- Save as you go so that you don’t lose information.

- Call a navigator if you have a question.

- Set up an appointment with a navigator if you have a lot of questions.

- Call MNsure (1-855-366-7873) or Clay County Social Services (218-299-5200) to check on status or for questions.

- Don’t get too frustrated.

- Don’t procrastinate.

- Keep calm and MNsure on!





Recently in:

FARGO – Republican optimism for enlisting Senate candidates is suffering blow after blow. Democrats have flipped eight Republican-controlled state legislative seats across the nation, from Roy Moore’s loss to former federal…

When I was a young boy of five I was lucky enough to have a black and white TV in our house. I had a lot of friends in those day because I let the whole neighborhood come over on Saturday morning to watch cartoons. I distinctly…

Wednesday, January 24, 6pmFargo Theatre, 314 Broadway NThe very first showing of “Homegrown: From Farm to Fargo,” a half-hour documentary shot, written, edited and produced by mass communication and journalism students at…

Last week I was asked to appear and speak on behalf of Matt Pausch, owner of the Oasis, before the Public Works and Safety Committee in Wahpeton. The Pausches are great people and I will never forget the time I spent at the Oasis.…

Corky had a knee replaced in late December and she has been diligently doing the physical therapy connected with the rehab. Although the operation was done in Fargo, I imagine the procedure would have cost about the same if it had…

Rhombus GuysWhile they may be known locally and throughout the region for their restaurants, which feature over thirty different pizzas, and their recent addition of a brewery in Grand Forks, Rhombus Guys also proudly pour from a…

Do you eat enough vegetables? Almost no one does. The current USDA nutrition guidelines for adults recommend 2.5 to 3 cups of vegetables to be eaten daily. Other nutrition sources indicate this number can be upwards of 6 cups of…

No one who has lived in Fargo for any length of time has to be told how bitterly cold it can get here during the winter. As much as we might complain about the cold temperatures, the biting winds, or the copious amounts of snow, we…

Now playing on Netflix Instant Watch, Voyeur is the curious story of strange bedfellows Gay Talese -- the once influential and celebrated journalist -- and Gerald Foos, a creepy peeper who spied on the guests at his hotel,…

High Plains Reader: How did the idea for Daily Trump Cartoon come to you -- what was your call to action?Peter Yuenger: It wasn't really a call to action, It was more of a New Year’s resolution to get back in the habit of drawing…

Smoke starts to seep from the sides of the stage and a rocker’s voice echoes over the crowd: “Are you ready to rock?!”You might think that you’re at a rock concert, if you weren’t seated in a black box theatre. For the…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

“What are some of your favorite bottles of whiskey?” is a question I get asked quite frequently and is often harder to answer than one might think. One of the great rewards of my profession is getting to sample some of the…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

By Gary Olsonolsong@moravian.edu“Kissing a man without a beard is like eating an egg without salt.”— Dutch proverb, probably written by a man.“Kissing a man with a beard is like going on a picnic. You don’t mind going…