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MNsure Organizes Outreach Aimed at Communities with High Health Disparities during “Health Justice Week”

1/19/2015 10:14:43 AM


CONTACT: Jenni Bowring-McDonough
Media Relations Coordinator

ST. PAUL, Minn.-In an effort to raise awareness about the benefits available to communities with high health disparities through MNsure, the organization is launching targeted outreach to this population during "Health Justice Week," January 19 - 25.

"Minnesota is an ever-growing, diverse state filled with people from many different backgrounds," said CEO Scott Leitz. "All Minnesotans deserve health insurance coverage they can use and afford. That's why we have partner organizations with already strong connections in these diverse communities to get the word out about MNsure."

MNsure has certified, in-person assisters available in organizations that work with various diverse groups and communities of color. These organizations are able to break down broad barriers to access and coverage to better explain the benefits of MNsure to these populations.

"Our job is to make sure all Minnesotans know about the benefits available to them through MNsure," said Leitz. "We do not want something like a language barrier or access keeping someone from getting the health insurance coverage they need. That's why providing resources to all Minnesotans is a top priority for our organization."

To assist with Health Justice Week, MNsure is relying on the expertise of its grantee partners already active in reaching out to these groups.

"Communities of color, people with disabilities, new citizens, and young adults are all less likely to have health insurance than the broader population, so MNsure navigator organizations such as ours are working across the state with members of these communities to increase awareness, answer questions and provide the help people need, where they need it, to get enrolled," said Ralonda Mason, supervising attorney with Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid.

"Asian Americans in Minnesota have some of the highest rates of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and Hepatitis B, and we're less likely to have health insurance than white Minnesotans," explains Bao Vang, president and CEO of Hmong American Partnership in Saint Paul. "For our community, obtaining health insurance will mean preventive care and preventing disease. At HAP we have enrolled thousands of families who are seeing the benefits of the Affordable Care Act and MNsure. We are saving lives."

"Minnesota AIDS Project is proud to provide insurance counseling services that promote health justice and address health disparities," said Linda Ewing, Interim Executive Director at Minnesota AIDS Project. "Our MNsure navigator program has allowed us to more broadly reach underinsured communities."

"Our state has made progress to improving the health of individuals trapped in poverty, and MNsure provides a realistic path for our clients and families to receive much needed health care services," said Mitchell Davis Jr., director of health and workforce intersections at the Minneapolis Urban League.

For the first time, individual and small group plans have to cover mental health and substance use disorder treatment, and have to follow mental health parity," said Sue Abderholden, executive director of NAMI Minnesota. "People with mental illnesses or substance use disorders can purchase insurance that covers the treatment they need."

This coming week, MNsure partners will host enrollment events geared especially toward these communities.

Neighborhood House/Wellstone Center - Community Enrollment Event
Tuesday, January 20 from 9 a.m. to noon
179 Robie Street East, Saint Paul, MN 55107
Enrollment assistance provided by Portico Healthnet

Native American Community Clinic - Enrollment Assistance
Wednesday, January 21 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
1213 East Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55404
Enrollment assistance provided by Native American Community Clinic

Sabathani Community Center - Community Health Event
Wednesday, January 21 from 10 a.m. to noon
310 East 38th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55409
Enrollment assistance provided by Q Health Connections (Southside Community Health Services, Inc.)

Lutheran Social Service Center - Phillips West Winter Social
Thursday, January 22 from 5 to 8 p.m.
2400 Park Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55404
Enrollment assistance provided by navigators from Centro Tyrone Guzman

St. Cloud Public Library - Enrollment Open House
Thursday, January 22 from 3 to 5:30 p.m.
1300 West St. Germain Street, St. Cloud, MN 56301
Enrollment assistance provided by navigators from Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, St. Cloud Area Somali Salvation Organization and Rainbow AIDS Action Network, and private plan enrollment by insurance agent Robert W. McConnell. Assistance offered in English, Spanish and Somali.

Fortune Bay Resort Casino - Bois Forte Reservation Enrollment Event
Thursday, January 22 from noon to 3 p.m.
1430 Bois Forte Road, Tower, MN 55790
Enrollment assistance provided by Minnesota Chippewa Tribe

Karen Organization of Minnesota - Navigator Office Hours
Thursday, January 22 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
1394 Jackson Street, Saint Paul, MN 55117
Enrollment assistance provided by United Family Medicine

Cedar Riverside Plaza - Outreach and Enrollment Event
Friday, January 23 from noon to 6 p.m.
1615 4th Avenue South, M Building, Minneapolis, MN 55454
Enrollment assistance provided by Somali Health Solutions in partnership with the Riverside Tenant's Association

24 Mall-Sudi Coffee Shop - Community Enrollment Event
Saturday, January 24 from noon to 8 p.m.
912 East 24th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55404
Enrollment assistance provided by Somali Health Solutions

Open enrollment for 2015 coverage began November 15, 2014, and ends February 15, 2015. Minnesotans eligible for Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare can enroll year-round. As of May 2014, 95 percent of Minnesotans have health coverage-the highest percentage in state history.

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