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Affordable Care Act, MNsure Cut Minnesota’s Uninsured Rate Nearly In Half

6/11/2014 10:14:43 AM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Jenni Bowring-McDonough
Media Relations Coordinator
jenni.bowring-mcdonough@state.mn.us
651.539.1976

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Today, MNsure, together with the University of Minnesota's State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC), announced Minnesota's uninsured population rate is at its lowest point since records on the rate have been kept.

Between September 30, 2013, and May 1, 2014, the number of uninsured Minnesotans fell by 180,500, a reduction of 40.6 percent. The number of uninsured in Minnesota fell from 445,000 (8.2 percent of the population) to about 264,500 (4.9 percent of the population). These data provide a snapshot of coverage in Minnesota just before the MNsure open enrollment period began, and one month after it closed, allowing for processing of enrollments that had been started but not completed prior to the end of open enrollment.

"Through the efforts of so many people throughout Minnesota during open enrollment, this state has brought affordable coverage to hundreds of thousands, many for the first time ever," said MNsure CEO Scott Leitz. "This is extraordinary news for the people of Minnesota. But it also extraordinary news for the restaurant owner in Winona who can finally afford coverage. And it's lifesaving news for the St. Paul woman diagnosed with a brain tumor who can now afford the coverage she needs. The impact on the lives of Minnesotans will be felt for generations, and it's only just the start."

The increase in health insurance coverage was driven by more Minnesotans becoming eligible for Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare, as well as an increase in the private insurance market. The SHADAC report shows 67 percent of uninsured adults and 82 percent of uninsured kids are eligible for public programs.

"This is a great day for Minnesota and is a testament to the hard work of many across the state, including our certified partners, state agencies, insurance plans and counties," said MNsure Board Chairman Brian Beutner. "With today's news, coupled with Minnesota having the lowest health insurance rates in the nation, we celebrate these not as milestones completed, but as evidence that we are on the right track."

"Minnesota's uninsured rate is now one of the lowest in the country, thanks to the Medicaid expansion and all the outreach efforts to get people enrolled," said Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. "For most people, it's easier to sign up for public programs than ever before. I'm delighted to see them getting the coverage they needed."

The methodology used by SHADAC in this analysis is similar to one that has been used by the State of Minnesota to estimate health insurance coverage in the state since the early 1990s. The number of Minnesotans purchasing health insurance on their own grew by 12.5 percent, and according to SHADAC, was driven by enrollment in MNsure.

"Our findings are consistent with reports of early national impacts of the Affordable Care Act," said SHADAC Deputy Director Julie Sonier. "We know the ACA's impacts will vary by state, and our purpose in doing this analysis was to examine the impacts on Minnesota, in advance of the first state-level results from surveys, which are not expected until the end of this year at the earliest."

SHADAC also notes there were enrollment declines in two market segments: the high-risk pools, MCHA and PCIP, where enrollees were widely expected to take advantage of lower premium rates available elsewhere through guaranteed issue of coverage, and MinnesotaCare, which experienced a shift of enrollment to Medical Assistance.

"Everywhere you look, more Minnesotans are gaining access to quality, affordable health insurance coverage," said Leitz. "We're not done working yet, but we take this report from SHADAC as a strong step in the right direction."

To date, 236,745 Minnesotans have enrolled in quality, affordable coverage through MNsure. 136,303 are enrolled in Medical Assistance, 48,942 in MinnesotaCare and 51,500 in a qualified health plan.

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