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15 Reasons to Use MNsure

"15 Days, 15 Reasons To Use MNsure," is a campaign aimed at featuring the benefits of quality, affordable health insurance coverage through MNsure.

With this campaign, we shined the spotlight on real Minnesotans to show just how much of an impact MNsure can have on someone.

1 Find Relief and Satisfaction by Working with a Navigator  

Angie is a MNsure navigator at Southside Community Health Services and has focused much of her enrollment work this year at students attending community colleges.

It's important for students to check out MNsure and the health insurance that's available to them because then they can perform even better at their university.

Angie works with a lot of nontraditional students who aren't focusing just on college, but also have other responsibilities like jobs and families.

So with that, health insurance and going to the doctor often gets left behind.

Angie says the stress and anxiety students have about insurance coverage and the cost that comes with it is often replaced with relief and satisfaction by working with a navigator.

After we sit down with them and talk with them, they're really grateful for that time we can spend and remove some of those unknowns. The gratefulness and the profound impact that we're able to have as navigators and being able to provide this service is really gratifying.


2 Free In-Person Enrollment Assistance 

Lin and familyWith a history of health problems in her family, Lin knew she needed to get health insurance coverage.

"I recently started a new job and am not eligible for health insurance benefits through my employer."

Realizing that the MNsure open enrollment deadline was coming to an end, Lin decided to check out MNsure.org, but ended up having some questions.

"I gave MNsure a call and they put me in touch with a certified navigator."

After setting up the appointment, Lin couldn't believe how easy it was to get health insurance coverage at a price she could afford.

"It was so, so smooth. The whole thing was a great experience. We walked through the application and when I left the appointment I knew I was going to be covered."

Better yet, Lin didn't have to pay for this service, available only through MNsure.

"When we were wrapping up I said, 'What do I owe you?' and the navigator said, "You don't pay me anything.' I couldn't believe it."

Thanks to MNsure, thousands of Minnesotans are getting high quality, affordable health insurance coverage, with the added benefit of free, in-person enrollment assistance.

"I've told my friends, family, everyone I know about this experience. Anyone who is currently uninsured needs to call MNsure and get themselves covered."


3 Relieve the Stress that Comes with being Uninsured 

After a year with no insurance, Derrick enrolls through MNsure, says health care is a necessity, not a privilege.

Derrick is a barista at Diamonds Coffee Shoppe in Northeast Minneapolis, and spent the past year without health insurance. Knowing the open enrollment deadline was coming up, he got some encouragement to check out MNsure from his boss.

"The owner of the business took me downstairs into the office, sat me in front of the computer and 45 minutes later I had health care," said Derrick. "It was a really good feeling. I understood that my quality of life was going to increase exponentially because I could go to the doctor when I needed to."

Now that Derrick has experienced success enrolling through MNsure, he is spreading the word by helping his friends and fell neighborhood members get enrolled.

"Personally, I think health care is a necessity, not a privilege. When I approached the question of getting health care, I understood that my life will just be better and it'll be easier to live and be a productive member of society."

Diamonds Coffee Shoppe will hold a MNsure enrollment event on Saturday, February 7, from noon - 4 p.m. for those still looking to get health insurance coverage before the February 15 open enrollment deadline.

"I say get on it because once you do you'll realize it was worth it."


4 Get the Best Insurance You've Ever Had 

Alex now has affordable coverage.Alex spent New Year's Eve of 2009 in a doctor's office. He knew that the very next day, when the calendar turned over to 2010, he would lose the health coverage he had through his mother's insurance. He was desperate to receive a steroid shot to manage reoccurring joint pain while he still had coverage. "The inflammation in my finger had gotten so bad I couldn't move it and it swelled up to twice its size," Alex recalls. "It would wake me up in the middle of the night."

Alex was experiencing his first flare-up of psoriatic arthritis, a painful illness that would go undiagnosed for several more years. Between school, part-time work, and his mom's plan, he only had intermittent insurance coverage. This allowed for brief visits with many different doctors, but not the consistent, specialized care he needed to figure out his illness.

Alex dreamed of being a teacher, but leaving his part-time job at Starbucks meant losing health coverage. "It became a catch-22 because it was really hard to make the 20 hours a week at Starbucks to qualify for insurance. It was harder and harder to do 8 hour shifts. I would finish unable to walk."

In those years, it was hard for Alex's friends to understand what he was going through. "Some people think it's a choice to not have insurance. For me, I was desperate to get insurance."

Eventually, Alex saw a rheumatologist who diagnosed his condition and prescribed medication. It was a relief to identify the problem at last. However, when he left Starbucks to pursue a career in education, his application for insurance was denied because of his pre-existing condition.

Fortunately, it was only a few months wait until MNsure and the Affordable Care Act went into practice. Alex and his wife enrolled immediately in a plan that only costs $80 a month.

"It is the best insurance I've ever had," Alex says. "For the first time in my adult life, I have a normal doctor. Before, I thought about my arthritis every single day. I was in constant fear - am I not going to be able to work tomorrow? Where will I get money? Now I address flare-ups before they become really big problems."


5 Get Freedom to Pursue Your Goals without the Worry of being Denied Coverage  

Sarah

Sarah was born in Chickankata, Zambia, as an American born abroad. Sarah has lived in the U.S. since she was three-years-old and grew up mostly in Texas.

After attending both undergrad and graduate school in Minnesota, Sarah founded the MN Second Chance Coalition and then took a job as chief operating officer of a large non-profit that worked with juvenile and adult offenders and lobbied for the MN Second Chance Coalition.

In 2011, after two years of repeated bouts of pneumonia, bronchitis and strep, feeling lethargic and being in constant arthritic pain, Sarah was diagnosed with lupus.

"As a result of my lupus I need monthly infusions, take many prescription medications including anti-organ rejection medication and have numerous orthopedic needs. Without these medical interventions I enter into a cycle of continuous illness and pain."

When MNsure launched, Sarah was able to make a career transition, because she was no longer forced to stay on an employer-sponsored plan due to pre-existing conditions.

"MNsure has allowed me the freedom and security to pursue my personal/professional goals and to travel with security."


6 It Can Save Your Life  

Richard

Richard is a fifth-generation farmer in rural western Minnesota. Richard enrolled in health insurance coverage through MNsure, and says it has made a huge difference in how he controls his healthcare.

"We were at a very high premium, and a very high deductible," said Richard. "Basically we were carrying insurance for major medical emergencies only."

After hearing about MNsure, Richard and his wife attended a local informational meeting to learn more about their options and the cost savings available to them only through MNsure.

We went through an application process and were very happy to discover that we were going to qualify for much lower cost coverage.

Richard says the newly affordable coverage came just at the right time. After noticing a lump on his ear months before, Richard decided to get it checked out and removed, because he could now afford to pay for the procedure.

"They discovered that it was a cancerous growth and I was really glad that I had the encouragement to go ahead and respond to it. MNsure made the difference for that."

Thousands of farmers across Minnesota are now potentially eligible to qualify for financial help through MNsure without having to count assets, such as land or equipment, as part of their annual income.


7 You May Qualify for More than You Think 

Rachelle

Rachelle is a MNsure-certified navigator at Sawtooth Mountain Clinic in Grand Marais. She enjoys helping those in her local community find the health insurance coverage that meets their needs.

What is unique about Grand Marais is its people, said Rachelle. A lot of us are self-employed and wear many hats in the community and have multiple jobs so a lot of people have qualified for a Minnesota health care program and that has opened the door for a lot of folks to come in and seek out help.

Once Rachelle explains all the benefits and cost savings options available through MNsure, she says many are pleasantly surprised.

I have seen many people leave my office with tears of joy and hugging me and saying now they can afford to get help to fill that prescription drug that once cost so much, to go see their doctor to fix a problem that has been ailing them.

Above all, Rachelle says she's excited to see how a healthier community will prove quality of life.

There has been a lot of good, and bottom line, people are getting health insurance, and good quality coverage and affordable health care.


8 You Can Take Control of Your Health care 

Jake

Jake is a small business owner and father in Glenwood. He and his family decided to get health insurance coverage through MNsure, and are glad they made that decision.

It ended up saving us an incredible amount of money, at least from our perspective, Jake said. At least $6,000 just in premiums. We have better health care and we have dental.

Jake says his old policy carried a high deductible. His new MNsure policy does not, which means he no longer has to worry about someone getting sick or being wiped out by medical bills.

We probably go in a little more readily for the minor things and hopefully if anything does come along we'll catch it early where we can prevent things instead of kicking the can down the road and it costing more.

The policy Jake got from MNsure allows him and his family to keep their doctors, and provides more piece of mind.

We're the ones making our health care decisions, because of MNsure.


12 Health Insurance Coverage Can Improve Overall Wellness 

Jacek and Gab, Managers of Anytime Fitness in St. Paul

Jacek and Gabi manage Anytime Fitness on Spring Street in St. Paul. As independent contractors, they do not have health insurance benefits through work.

I'm a personal trainer, said Jacek. This is all I do; it is my full-time profession and we always have to look for our own individual health plan.

Jacek and Gabi heard about MNsure through clients at their gym and television advertisements. They decided to check out the website to see if they would qualify for financial help.

We filled out the simple, very easy to follow application online. All the questions were very straightforward, said Jacek. We only pay now $284/month, which is much more easy to handle.

For Gabi, the ability to shop and compare multiple health insurance policies in one place was a big plus.

You have all these different plans under one umbrella, so it is just finding what is best for you and it's as simple as that, said Gabi.

Now that Jacek and Gabi are covered for 2015, they're working to make sure their clients also take the important step of getting health insurance, as part of their overall wellness.

You should try it no matter what, because you never know if you're going to qualify for, not unless you try it and fill out a simple application. It might actually help you out a lot, said Jacek.


9 You Can Get Coverage for Your Kids 

Jenny and her son

Jenny has two active boys who needed to get health insurance coverage, so she decided to check out MNsure with the help of a navigator.

I heard about MNsure when we were living in Wisconsin and how easy it was for people in Minnesota to get healthcare, said Jenny. When we moved back to Minnesota I made sure to look quickly into getting my boys covered.

Jenny's decision to get health insurance coverage for her boys couldn't have come at a more urgent time. Two months after enrolling her sons through MNsure, Dexter, 7, received a life-changing diagnosis.

My son has Stage 4 neuroblastoma. It's a cancer of the nerves, so it has been really good we have health insurance.

Without the coverage, Jenny says she's not sure what she would have done to get the treatment her son needs.

Just his transplant alone is going to cost over $500,000, so I can't imagine not having the health insurance. I just don't have to worry about it anymore.

To those people still debating whether to to get insurance coverage, Jenny has a simple message: it's worth it.

It might be a half hour of your time if that, but it's very much worth it.


10 You Can Get Attention for Your Immediate Medical Needs 

Nicole, Case Management Assistant, Hennepin County

Nicole is a case management assistant at Hennepin County Public Health's Healthcare for the Homeless program. The program operates medical clinics at shelters and day centers throughout Minneapolis. "It's not uncommon for uninsured clients to come in for what they think are simple medical issues, only to learn they're facing something more serious that needs immediate attention," Nicole says.

Trained as a MNsure navigator, Nicole now helps clients enroll in insurance that can actually be active the very same or next day. "Just last week, I met with a man who was new to Minnesota, staying in shelter, uninsured, and quite sick. We completed a MNsure application at 7 p.m., and he had active insurance when he had to be admitted to a hospital early the next morning. He was able to get the treatments and medication he needed without worrying about his insurance status."


11 Get Free, In-Person Help in Your Native Language 

Geraldine, MNsure Navigator

Geraldine is a MNsure navigator and patient advocate at Southside Community Health Services. She has worked with uninsured individuals for the past 14 years, many of whom do not speak English or do so as a second language, and says MNsure has made her job much easier.

The MNsure process is helping a lot of our clients and the people that are applying, said Geraldine.

Before MNsure, Geraldine explained how an uninsured individual would apply and sometimes have to wait weeks to find out if he or she was approved for coverage. Through MNsure, she can now give her clients an instant eligibility determination.

Now it's one whole system in the computer, so it's just one single application and you can be denied or approved right away, said Geraldine.

While working to get people covered may sound like a lot of work, Geraldine doesn't feel that way. Instead, she's grateful she is able to help so many people get the coverage they need.

Every single day I feel like this is not a job for me. I'm helping people every day and I'm doing something every single day, something to improve the lives of a lot of people here, said Geraldine.


13 You Can Avoid Expensive Medical Costs 

Jaycie and Kathryn are MNsure Certified Application Counselors

Jaycie and Kathryn are MNsure-certified application counselors (CACs) in Buffalo, MN. As CACs, Jaycie and Kathryn help people with MNsure questions and enrollment as part of their jobs at Buffalo Hospital.

People from the community can make an appointment to see me and I'll walk them through the process of applying on the MNsure website, said Kathryn. It's very rewarding to help someone in that they might seek care that they wouldn't have otherwise not gone to get because they didn't have coverage.

I had one lady who was so happy she said, 'Can I just hug you?' and I just think it's been a really positive thing that we've been able to do, said Jaycie.

Both Jaycie and Kathryn say the best part of being a CAC is telling someone who was previously denied coverage or could not afford coverage, that they can now purchase a plan and may even qualify for financial help.

It's kind of like a, Yes! Win Win! said Jaycie. It's not scary, and we take it one step at a time, one page at a time, one click at a time and we'll get you through the process, said Kathryn.

There are more than 300 certified application counselors in nearly 50 hospitals and clinics throughout Minnesota.


14 Getting Insured Can Build Stronger Communities 

Alaina

Alaina is a pharmacist at Thrifty White Pharmacy in Cold Spring and is an integral part of the health care team in her small Minnesota community.

Being a pharmacist, your main job is to really make sure people are using the medications the way they should and that they have access to the medications, said Alaina. With MNsure, it's encouraging for me to see that people have the opportunity from the beginning to look at what they want out of health care, prioritize that and make a decision.

One of the biggest changes Alaina has noticed since MNsure plans went into effect earlier this year is the conversations customers are having about their health care benefits. People are coming in here asking questions about their health care coverage and I think it's encouraging because those questions lead to better outcomes.

Overall, Alaina says the changes have provided a positive experience for both her and members of her community.

The most exciting part for me is being able to see patients realize they have that support and utilize it.


15 Financial Help through MNsure Can be a Life Changer 

Mary Jo, MNsure Navigator

Mary Jo is a MNsure navigator at Planned Parenthood and has helped numerous Minnesotans get health insurance and financial help through MNsure.

To actually be involved in helping someone obtain the insurance has been a really exciting opportunity, Mary Jo said.

Mary Jo remembers one family in particular she helped that has stood out from others. I helped a single mother with four children. Her husband had left and one of her children is autistic.

Once Mary Jo walked her through the application, they discovered together that she would qualify for financial help, and everyone in her family would be covered.

She told me, 'For the first time, I really feel like we're going to make it.' That sort of stuff just tears me up it is just wonderful to be able to help those kinds of people, Mary Jo said.

The best part about being a Navigator, according to Mary Jo, is being able to deliver good news to people, especially when they're not used to hearing it.

There are so many smiles, so many tears, so many hugs, it's just really a wonderful job.

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