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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Josh Heintzeman (R)

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Area legislators seek more choices for Crow Wing families, urge early MNsure shopping to avoid being capped out

Friday, October 28, 2016

ST. PAUL – Citizens in Crow Wing County already are limited in their MNsure options, but could be altogether locked out of the health insurance exchange if they do not swiftly enroll.

Crow Wing is one of five Minnesota counties where their only MNsure health insurance options include enrollment caps, limiting the number of people who will be accepted following the Nov. 1 start to the 2017 sign-up period. There is no indication from the Minnesota Department of Commerce or Gov. Mark Dayton as to how Minnesotans who do not get a plan before the cap is reached will be able to purchase health insurance.

“MNsure has been a debacle from day one, I get calls every day from people who are at a complete loss on how they will manage rate hikes of 50, 60 percent or more, some have suggested they simply will not sign up for health insurance.” said Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin. “We at the Legislature will address this catastrophe but, in the meantime please sign up. The consequences of not signing up for a health insurance plan on Nov. 1 regardless of the atrocious increase in rates could add another unnecessary calamity that families in our area are facing.”

Lueck and Rep. Josh Heintzeman, R-Nisswa, are among Legislators who support extending the MNsure enrollment period past Jan. 31, 2017 to bring more options into the market. Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, co-chairman of the MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee released a proposal Thursday aimed at bringing more choices to families and helping Minnesotans keep their doctor.

“We are working to find solutions for families struggling with headaches caused by MNsure,” Heintzeman said. “The Democrat architects of this program promised it would ease access to insurance and save families hundreds of dollars per year. In reality, the results have been completely opposite and people are facing real hardships. As tough as it is to swallow, maybe the only worse option than promptly enrolling in MNsure is not having any health insurance at all and being forced to pay the Obamacare penalty.”

Residents of Benton, Mille Lacs, Morrison and Stearns counties also have zero uncapped MNsure options.