Federal law now requires almost everyone to have health insurance coverage or be subject to a tax penalty. Many different types of health insurance fulfill this requirement, including:
The health care reform law, also called the Affordable Care Act (ACA), created health insurance marketplaces where individuals can enroll in public insurance programs or qualify for tax credits and cost-sharing reductions on private individual or family insurance plans. MNsure is Minnesota’s health insurance marketplace.
If you are currently uninsured, GRHS has certified application counselors who can help you apply for public insurance programs or tax credits for private coverage through MNsure when you visit our hospital emergency room, urgent care center or one of our clinics. Simply ask to meet with a certified application counselor when you check in for care.
GRHS also participates in Minnesota’s hospital presumptive eligibility (HPE) program. This allows us to make a preliminary determination of your eligibility for Medicaid coverage and enroll you for immediate temporary coverage of a full range of health care benefits including clinic visits, inpatient hospital care and prescriptions. The temporary coverage provides time for you to collect information and complete the online enrollment process necessary for long-term Medicaid coverage.
Public insurance programs
You can find out if your income qualifies you for coverage through a public program such as Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare with assistance from MNsure, your county social service office or a certified application counselor at GRHS. You can enroll in a public health care program such as Medicaid or Minnesota (if your income qualifies) at any time during the year. Visit MNsure or your county health care office for assistance. The McLeod County Social Service Center is located at 1805 Ford Avenue N., Suite 100, Glencoe, MN 55336, or call 320-864-3144 or 1-800-247-1756.
Private insurance coverage
If you do not have access to employer-based coverage or your income is too high for the Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare programs, you may qualify for federal government assistance in paying premiums or out-of-pocket costs for a private individual or family insurance plan. MNsure can help you determine if you’ll qualify. If you do, you must buy your coverage through MNsure in order to receive financial assistance. If your income does not qualify for tax credits or cost-sharing reductions, you can buy individual or family coverage directly from an insurance company or by working with a licensed insurance agent or broker.
MNsure has a network of individuals and organizations that are trained to help you get health care coverage. These include licensed insurance agents and brokers, “navigators” and certified application counselors (available at GRHS). All have completed specialized training and are certified by MNsure to help you. To find an assister in your area, view MNsure’s assister directory.
Whether you qualify for assistance or not, you must enroll in individual or family coverage during the annual open enrollment period. The open enrollment period for 2016 coverage is Nov. 1, 2015 through Jan. 31, 2016. If you do not enroll by Jan. 31, 2016, you must wait until the next open enrollment period begins in November 2016 and you may owe a penalty on your tax return in 2017.
You may qualify to enroll outside the annual open enrollment period if you have what is called a “qualifying life event.” Examples include moving to a new state, certain changes in your income, and changes in your family size (for example, if you marry, divorce, have a baby or adopt a child).