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2020 Medicare 101 Basics for New York State - 1.5 hour webinar by Eric Hausman, sponsored by NYS Office of the Aging TOPICS COVERED IN THIS ARTICLE 1. No Asset Limit 1A. Summary Chart of MSP Programs 2.

Income Limits &. Rules and Household Size 3. The Three MSP Programs - What are they and how are they Different?.

4. FOUR Special Benefits of MSP Programs. Back Door to Extra Help with Part D MSPs Automatically Waive Late Enrollment Penalties for Part B - and allow enrollment in Part B year-round outside of the short Annual Enrollment Period No Medicaid Lien on Estate to Recover Payment of Expenses Paid by MSP Food Stamps/SNAP not reduced by Decreased Medical Expenses when Enroll in MSP - at least temporarily 5.

Enrolling in an MSP - Automatic Enrollment &. Applications for People who Have Medicare What is Application Process?. 6.

Enrolling in an MSP for People age 65+ who Do Not Qualify for Free Medicare Part A - the "Part A Buy-In Program" 7. What Happens After MSP Approved - How Part B Premium is Paid 8 Special Rules for QMBs - How Medicare Cost-Sharing Works 1. NO ASSET LIMIT!.

Since April 1, 2008, none of the three MSP programs have resource limits in New York -- which means many Medicare beneficiaries who might not qualify for Medicaid because of excess resources can qualify for an MSP. 1.A. SUMMARY CHART OF MSP BENEFITS QMB SLIMB QI-1 Eligibility ASSET LIMIT NO LIMIT IN NEW YORK STATE INCOME LIMIT (2020) Single Couple Single Couple Single Couple $1,064 $1,437 $1,276 $1,724 $1,436 $1,940 Federal Poverty Level 100% FPL 100 – 120% FPL 120 – 135% FPL Benefits Pays Monthly Part B premium?.

YES, and also Part A premium if did not have enough work quarters and meets citizenship requirement. See “Part A Buy-In” YES YES Pays Part A &. B deductibles &.

Co-insurance YES - with limitations NO NO Retroactive to Filing of Application?. Yes - Benefits begin the month after the month of the MSP application. 18 NYCRR §360-7.8(b)(5) Yes – Retroactive to 3rd month before month of application, if eligible in prior months Yes – may be retroactive to 3rd month before month of applica-tion, but only within the current calendar year.

(No retro for January application). See GIS 07 MA 027. Can Enroll in MSP and Medicaid at Same Time?.

YES YES NO!. Must choose between QI-1 and Medicaid. Cannot have both, not even Medicaid with a spend-down.

2. INCOME LIMITS and RULES Each of the three MSP programs has different income eligibility requirements and provides different benefits. The income limits are tied to the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

2019 FPL levels were released by NYS DOH in GIS 20 MA/02 - 2020 Federal Poverty Levels -- Attachment II and have been posted by Medicaid.gov and the National Council on Aging and are in the chart below. NOTE. There is usually a lag in time of several weeks, or even months, from January 1st of each year until the new FPLs are release, and then before the new MSP income limits are officially implemented.

During this lag period, local Medicaid offices should continue to use the previous year's FPLs AND count the person's Social Security benefit amount from the previous year - do NOT factor in the Social Security COLA (cost of living adjustment). Once the updated guidelines are released, districts will use the new FPLs and go ahead and factor in any COLA. See 2019 Fact Sheet on MSP in NYS by Medicare Rights Center ENGLISH SPANISH Income is determined by the same methodology as is used for determining in eligibility for SSI The rules for counting income for SSI-related (Aged 65+, Blind, or Disabled) Medicaid recipients, borrowed from the SSI program, apply to the MSP program, except for the new rules about counting household size for married couples.

L. 367-a(3)(c)(2), NYS DOH 2000-ADM-7, 89-ADM-7 p.7. Gross income is counted, although there are certain types of income that are disregarded.

The most common income disregards, also known as deductions, include. (a) The first $20 of your &. Your spouse's monthly income, earned or unearned ($20 per couple max).

(b) SSI EARNED INCOME DISREGARDS. * The first $65 of monthly wages of you and your spouse, * One-half of the remaining monthly wages (after the $65 is deducted). * Other work incentives including PASS plans, impairment related work expenses (IRWEs), blind work expenses, etc.

For information on these deductions, see The Medicaid Buy-In for Working People with Disabilities (MBI-WPD) and other guides in this article -- though written for the MBI-WPD, the work incentives apply to all Medicaid programs, including MSP, for people age 65+, disabled or blind. (c) monthly cost of any health insurance premiums but NOT the Part B premium, since Medicaid will now pay this premium (may deduct Medigap supplemental policies, vision, dental, or long term care insurance premiums, and the Part D premium but only to the extent the premium exceeds the Extra Help benchmark amount) (d) Food stamps not counted. You can get a more comprehensive listing of the SSI-related income disregards on the Medicaid income disregards chart.

As for all benefit programs based on financial need, it is usually advantageous to be considered a larger household, because the income limit is higher. The above chart shows that Households of TWO have a higher income limit than households of ONE. The MSP programs use the same rules as Medicaid does for the Disabled, Aged and Blind (DAB) which are borrowed from the SSI program for Medicaid recipients in the “SSI-related category.” Under these rules, a household can be only ONE or TWO.

18 NYCRR 360-4.2. See DAB Household Size Chart. Married persons can sometimes be ONE or TWO depending on arcane rules, which can force a Medicare beneficiary to be limited to the income limit for ONE person even though his spouse who is under 65 and not disabled has no income, and is supported by the client applying for an MSP.

EXAMPLE. Bob's Social Security is $1300/month. He is age 67 and has Medicare.

His wife, Nancy, is age 62 and is not disabled and does not work. Under the old rule, Bob was not eligible for an MSP because his income was above the Income limit for One, even though it was well under the Couple limit. In 2010, NYS DOH modified its rules so that all married individuals will be considered a household size of TWO.

DOH GIS 10 MA 10 Medicare Savings Program Household Size, June 4, 2010. This rule for household size is an exception to the rule applying SSI budgeting rules to the MSP program. Under these rules, Bob is now eligible for an MSP.

When is One Better than Two?. Of course, there may be couples where the non-applying spouse's income is too high, and disqualifies the applying spouse from an MSP. In such cases, "spousal refusal" may be used SSL 366.3(a).

(Link is to NYC HRA form, can be adapted for other counties). 3. The Three Medicare Savings Programs - what are they and how are they different?.

1. Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB). The QMB program provides the most comprehensive benefits.

Available to those with incomes at or below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), the QMB program covers virtually all Medicare cost-sharing obligations. Part B premiums, Part A premiums, if there are any, and any and all deductibles and co-insurance. QMB coverage is not retroactive.

The program’s benefits will begin the month after the month in which your client is found eligible. ** See special rules about cost-sharing for QMBs below - updated with new CMS directive issued January 2012 ** See NYC HRA QMB Recertification form ** Even if you do not have Part A automatically, because you did not have enough wages, you may be able to enroll in the Part A Buy-In Program, in which people eligible for QMB who do not otherwise have Medicare Part A may enroll, with Medicaid paying the Part A premium (Materials by the Medicare Rights Center). 2.

Specifiedl Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB). For those with incomes between 100% and 120% FPL, the SLMB program will cover Part B premiums only. SLMB is retroactive, however, providing coverage for three months prior to the month of application, as long as your client was eligible during those months.

3. Qualified Individual (QI-1). For those with incomes between 120% and 135% FPL, and not receiving Medicaid, the QI-1 program will cover Medicare Part B premiums only.

QI-1 is also retroactive, providing coverage for three months prior to the month of application, as long as your client was eligible during those months. However, QI-1 retroactive coverage can only be provided within the current calendar year. (GIS 07 MA 027) So if you apply in January, you get no retroactive coverage.

Q-I-1 recipients would be eligible for Medicaid with a spend-down, but if they want the Part B premium paid, they must choose between enrolling in QI-1 or Medicaid. They cannot be in both. It is their choice.

DOH MRG p. 19. In contrast, one may receive Medicaid and either QMB or SLIMB.

4. Four Special Benefits of MSPs (in addition to NO ASSET TEST). Benefit 1.

Back Door to Medicare Part D "Extra Help" or Low Income Subsidy -- All MSP recipients are automatically enrolled in Extra Help, the subsidy that makes Part D affordable. They have no Part D deductible or doughnut hole, the premium is subsidized, and they pay very low copayments. Once they are enrolled in Extra Help by virtue of enrollment in an MSP, they retain Extra Help for the entire calendar year, even if they lose MSP eligibility during that year.

The "Full" Extra Help subsidy has the same income limit as QI-1 - 135% FPL. However, many people may be eligible for QI-1 but not Extra Help because QI-1 and the other MSPs have no asset limit. People applying to the Social Security Administration for Extra Help might be rejected for this reason.

Recent (2009-10) changes to federal law called "MIPPA" requires the Social Security Administration (SSA) to share eligibility data with NYSDOH on all persons who apply for Extra Help/ the Low Income Subsidy. Data sent to NYSDOH from SSA will enable NYSDOH to open MSP cases on many clients. The effective date of the MSP application must be the same date as the Extra Help application.

Signatures will not be required from clients. In cases where the SSA data is incomplete, NYSDOH will forward what is collected to the local district for completion of an MSP application. The State implementing procedures are in DOH 2010 ADM-03.

Also see CMS "Dear State Medicaid Director" letter dated Feb. 18, 2010 Benefit 2. MSPs Automatically Waive Late Enrollment Penalties for Part B Generally one must enroll in Part B within the strict enrollment periods after turning age 65 or after 24 months of Social Security Disability.

An exception is if you or your spouse are still working and insured under an employer sponsored group health plan, or if you have End Stage Renal Disease, and other factors, see this from Medicare Rights Center. If you fail to enroll within those short periods, you might have to pay higher Part B premiums for life as a Late Enrollment Penalty (LEP). Also, you may only enroll in Part B during the Annual Enrollment Period from January 1 - March 31st each year, with Part B not effective until the following July.

Enrollment in an MSP automatically eliminates such penalties... For life.. Even if one later ceases to be eligible for the MSP.

AND enrolling in an MSP will automatically result in becoming enrolled in Part B if you didn't already have it and only had Part A. See Medicare Rights Center flyer. Benefit 3.

No Medicaid Lien on Estate to Recover MSP Benefits Paid Generally speaking, states may place liens on the Estates of deceased Medicaid recipients to recover the cost of Medicaid services that were provided after the recipient reached the age of 55. Since 2002, states have not been allowed to recover the cost of Medicare premiums paid under MSPs. In 2010, Congress expanded protection for MSP benefits.

Beginning on January 1, 2010, states may not place liens on the Estates of Medicaid recipients who died after January 1, 2010 to recover costs for co-insurance paid under the QMB MSP program for services rendered after January 1, 2010. The federal government made this change in order to eliminate barriers to enrollment in MSPs. See NYS DOH GIS 10-MA-008 - Medicare Savings Program Changes in Estate Recovery The GIS clarifies that a client who receives both QMB and full Medicaid is exempt from estate recovery for these Medicare cost-sharing expenses.

Benefit 4. SNAP (Food Stamp) benefits not reduced despite increased income from MSP - at least temporarily Many people receive both SNAP (Food Stamp) benefits and MSP. Income for purposes of SNAP/Food Stamps is reduced by a deduction for medical expenses, which includes payment of the Part B premium.

Since approval for an MSP means that the client no longer pays for the Part B premium, his/her SNAP/Food Stamps income goes up, so their SNAP/Food Stamps go down. Here are some protections. Do these individuals have to report to their SNAP worker that their out of pocket medical costs have decreased?.

And will the household see a reduction in their SNAP benefits, since the decrease in medical expenses will increase their countable income?. The good news is that MSP households do NOT have to report the decrease in their medical expenses to the SNAP/Food Stamp office until their next SNAP/Food Stamp recertification. Even if they do report the change, or the local district finds out because the same worker is handling both the MSP and SNAP case, there should be no reduction in the household’s benefit until the next recertification.

New York’s SNAP policy per administrative directive 02 ADM-07 is to “freeze” the deduction for medical expenses between certification periods. Increases in medical expenses can be budgeted at the household’s request, but NYS never decreases a household’s medical expense deduction until the next recertification. Most elderly and disabled households have 24-month SNAP certification periods.

Eventually, though, the decrease in medical expenses will need to be reported when the household recertifies for SNAP, and the household should expect to see a decrease in their monthly SNAP benefit. It is really important to stress that the loss in SNAP benefits is NOT dollar for dollar. A $100 decrease in out of pocket medical expenses would translate roughly into a $30 drop in SNAP benefits.

See more info on SNAP/Food Stamp benefits by the Empire Justice Center, and on the State OTDA website. Some clients will be automatically enrolled in an MSP by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) shortly after attaining eligibility for Medicare. Others need to apply.

The 2010 "MIPPA" law introduced some improvements to increase MSP enrollment. See 3rd bullet below. Also, some people who had Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act before they became eligible for Medicare have special procedures to have their Part B premium paid before they enroll in an MSP.

See below. WHO IS AUTOMATICALLY ENROLLED IN AN MSP. Clients receiving even $1.00 of Supplemental Security Income should be automatically enrolled into a Medicare Savings Program (most often QMB) under New York State’s Medicare Savings Program Buy-in Agreement with the federal government once they become eligible for Medicare.

They should receive Medicare Parts A and B. Clients who are already eligible for Medicare when they apply for Medicaid should be automatically assessed for MSP eligibility when they apply for Medicaid. (NYS DOH 2000-ADM-7 and GIS 05 MA 033).

Clients who apply to the Social Security Administration for Extra Help, but are rejected, should be contacted &. Enrolled into an MSP by the Medicaid program directly under new MIPPA procedures that require data sharing. Strategy TIP.

Since the Extra Help filing date will be assigned to the MSP application, it may help the client to apply online for Extra Help with the SSA, even knowing that this application will be rejected because of excess assets or other reason. SSA processes these requests quickly, and it will be routed to the State for MSP processing. Since MSP applications take a while, at least the filing date will be retroactive.

Note. The above strategy does not work as well for QMB, because the effective date of QMB is the month after the month of application. As a result, the retroactive effective date of Extra Help will be the month after the failed Extra Help application for those with QMB rather than SLMB/QI-1.

Applying for MSP Directly with Local Medicaid Program. Those who do not have Medicaid already must apply for an MSP through their local social services district. (See more in Section D.

Below re those who already have Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act before they became eligible for Medicare. If you are applying for MSP only (not also Medicaid), you can use the simplified MSP application form (theDOH-4328(Rev. 8/2017-- English) (2017 Spanish version not yet available).

Either application form can be mailed in -- there is no interview requirement anymore for MSP or Medicaid. See 10 ADM-04. Applicants will need to submit proof of income, a copy of their Medicare card (front &.

Back), and proof of residency/address. See the application form for other instructions. One who is only eligible for QI-1 because of higher income may ONLY apply for an MSP, not for Medicaid too.

One may not receive Medicaid and QI-1 at the same time. If someone only eligible for QI-1 wants Medicaid, s/he may enroll in and deposit excess income into a pooled Supplemental Needs Trust, to bring her countable income down to the Medicaid level, which also qualifies him or her for SLIMB or QMB instead of QI-1. Advocates in NYC can sign up for a half-day "Deputization Training" conducted by the Medicare Rights Center, at which you'll be trained and authorized to complete an MSP application and to submit it via the Medicare Rights Center, which submits it to HRA without the client having to apply in person.

Enrolling in an MSP if you already have Medicaid, but just become eligible for Medicare Those who, prior to becoming enrolled in Medicare, had Medicaid through Affordable Care Act are eligible to have their Part B premiums paid by Medicaid (or the cost reimbursed) during the time it takes for them to transition to a Medicare Savings Program. In 2018, DOH clarified that reimbursement of the Part B premium will be made regardless of whether the individual is still in a Medicaid managed care (MMC) plan. GIS 18 MA/001 Medicaid Managed Care Transition for Enrollees Gaining Medicare ( PDF) provides, "Due to efforts to transition individuals who gain Medicare eligibility and who require LTSS, individuals may not be disenrolled from MMC upon receipt of Medicare.

To facilitate the transition and not disadvantage the recipient, the Medicaid program is approving reimbursement of Part B premiums for enrollees in MMC." The procedure for getting the Part B premium paid is different for those whose Medicaid was administered by the NYS of Health Exchange (Marketplace), as opposed to their local social services district. The procedure is also different for those who obtain Medicare because they turn 65, as opposed to obtaining Medicare based on disability. Either way, Medicaid recipients who transition onto Medicare should be automatically evaluated for MSP eligibility at their next Medicaid recertification.

NYS DOH 2000-ADM-7 Individuals can also affirmatively ask to be enrolled in MSP in between recertification periods. IF CLIENT HAD MEDICAID ON THE MARKETPLACE (NYS of Health Exchange) before obtaining Medicare. IF they obtain Medicare because they turn age 65, they will receive a letter from their local district asking them to "renew" Medicaid through their local district.

See 2014 LCM-02. Now, their Medicaid income limit will be lower than the MAGI limits ($842/ mo reduced from $1387/month) and they now will have an asset test. For this reason, some individuals may lose full Medicaid eligibility when they begin receiving Medicare.

People over age 65 who obtain Medicare do NOT keep "Marketplace Medicaid" for 12 months (continuous eligibility) See GIS 15 MA/022 - Continuous Coverage for MAGI Individuals. Since MSP has NO ASSET limit. Some individuals may be enrolled in the MSP even if they lose Medicaid, or if they now have a Medicaid spend-down.

If a Medicare/Medicaid recipient reports income that exceeds the Medicaid level, districts must evaluate the person’s eligibility for MSP. 08 OHIP/ADM-4 ​If you became eligible for Medicare based on disability and you are UNDER AGE 65, you are entitled to keep MAGI Medicaid for 12 months from the month it was last authorized, even if you now have income normally above the MAGI limit, and even though you now have Medicare. This is called Continuous Eligibility.

EXAMPLE. Sam, age 60, was last authorized for Medicaid on the Marketplace in June 2016. He became enrolled in Medicare based on disability in August 2016, and started receiving Social Security in the same month (he won a hearing approving Social Security disability benefits retroactively, after first being denied disability).

Even though his Social Security is too high, he can keep Medicaid for 12 months beginning June 2016. Sam has to pay for his Part B premium - it is deducted from his Social Security check. He may call the Marketplace and request a refund.

This will continue until the end of his 12 months of continues MAGI Medicaid eligibility. He will be reimbursed regardless of whether he is in a Medicaid managed care plan. See GIS 18 MA/001 Medicaid Managed Care Transition for Enrollees Gaining Medicare (PDF) When that ends, he will renew Medicaid and apply for MSP with his local district.

Individuals who are eligible for Medicaid with a spenddown can opt whether or not to receive MSP. (Medicaid Reference Guide (MRG) p. 19).

Obtaining MSP may increase their spenddown. MIPPA - Outreach by Social Security Administration -- Under MIPPA, the SSA sends a form letter to people who may be eligible for a Medicare Savings Program or Extra Help (Low Income Subsidy - LIS) that they may apply. The letters are.

· Beneficiary has Extra Help (LIS), but not MSP · Beneficiary has no Extra Help (LIS) or MSP 6. Enrolling in MSP for People Age 65+ who do Not have Free Medicare Part A - the "Part A Buy-In Program" Seniors WITHOUT MEDICARE PART A or B -- They may be able to enroll in the Part A Buy-In program, in which people eligible for QMB who are age 65+ who do not otherwise have Medicare Part A may enroll in Part A, with Medicaid paying the Part A premium. See Step-by-Step Guide by the Medicare Rights Center).

This guide explains the various steps in "conditionally enrolling" in Part A at the SSA office, which must be done before applying for QMB at the Medicaid office, which will then pay the Part A premium. See also GIS 04 MA/013. In June, 2018, the SSA revised the POMS manual procedures for the Part A Buy-In to to address inconsistencies and confusion in SSA field offices and help smooth the path for QMB enrollment.

The procedures are in the POMS Section HI 00801.140 "Premium-Free Part A Enrollments for Qualified Medicare BenefiIaries." It includes important clarifications, such as. SSA Field Offices should explain the QMB program and conditional enrollment process if an individual lacks premium-free Part A and appears to meet QMB requirements. SSA field offices can add notes to the “Remarks” section of the application and provide a screen shot to the individual so the individual can provide proof of conditional Part A enrollment when applying for QMB through the state Medicaid program.

Beneficiaries are allowed to complete the conditional application even if they owe Medicare premiums. In Part A Buy-in states like NYS, SSA should process conditional applications on a rolling basis (without regard to enrollment periods), even if the application coincides with the General Enrollment Period. (The General Enrollment Period is from Jan 1 to March 31st every year, in which anyone eligible may enroll in Medicare Part A or Part B to be effective on July 1st).

7. What happens after the MSP approval - How is Part B premium paid For all three MSP programs, the Medicaid program is now responsible for paying the Part B premiums, even though the MSP enrollee is not necessarily a recipient of Medicaid. The local Medicaid office (DSS/HRA) transmits the MSP approval to the NYS Department of Health – that information gets shared w/ SSA and CMS SSA stops deducting the Part B premiums out of the beneficiary’s Social Security check.

SSA also refunds any amounts owed to the recipient. (Note. This process can take awhile!.

!. !. ) CMS “deems” the MSP recipient eligible for Part D Extra Help/ Low Income Subsidy (LIS).

​Can the MSP be retroactive like Medicaid, back to 3 months before the application?. ​The answer is different for the 3 MSP programs. QMB -No Retroactive Eligibility – Benefits begin the month after the month of the MSP application.

18 NYCRR § 360-7.8(b)(5) SLIMB - YES - Retroactive Eligibility up to 3 months before the application, if was eligible This means applicant may be reimbursed for the 3 months of Part B benefits prior to the month of application. QI-1 - YES up to 3 months but only in the same calendar year. No retroactive eligibility to the previous year.

7. QMBs -Special Rules on Cost-Sharing. QMB is the only MSP program which pays not only the Part B premium, but also the Medicare co-insurance.

However, there are limitations. First, co-insurance will only be paid if the provide accepts Medicaid. Not all Medicare provides accept Medicaid.

Second, under recent changes in New York law, Medicaid will not always pay the Medicare co-insurance, even to a Medicaid provider. But even if the provider does not accept Medicaid, or if Medicaid does not pay the full co-insurance, the provider is banned from "balance billing" the QMB beneficiary for the co-insurance. Click here for an article that explains all of these rules.

This article was authored by the Empire Justice Center.THE PROBLEM. Meet Joe, whose Doctor has Billed him for the Medicare Coinsurance Joe Client is disabled and has SSD, Medicaid and Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB). His health care is covered by Medicare, and Medicaid and the QMB program pick up his Medicare cost-sharing obligations.

Under Medicare Part B, his co-insurance is 20% of the Medicare-approved charge for most outpatient services. He went to the doctor recently and, as with any other Medicare beneficiary, the doctor handed him a bill for his co-pay. Now Joe has a bill that he can’t pay.

Read below to find out -- SHORT ANSWER. QMB or Medicaid will pay the Medicare coinsurance only in limited situations. First, the provider must be a Medicaid provider.

Second, even if the provider accepts Medicaid, under recent legislation in New York enacted in 2015 and 2016, QMB or Medicaid may pay only part of the coinsurance, or none at all. This depends in part on whether the beneficiary has Original Medicare or is in a Medicare Advantage plan, and in part on the type of service. However, the bottom line is that the provider is barred from "balance billing" a QMB beneficiary for the Medicare coinsurance.

Unfortunately, this creates tension between an individual and her doctors, pharmacies dispensing Part B medications, and other providers. Providers may not know they are not allowed to bill a QMB beneficiary for Medicare coinsurance, since they bill other Medicare beneficiaries. Even those who know may pressure their patients to pay, or simply decline to serve them.

These rights and the ramifications of these QMB rules are explained in this article. CMS is doing more education about QMB Rights. The Medicare Handbook, since 2017, gives information about QMB Protections.

Download the 2020 Medicare Handbook here. See pp. 53, 86.

1. To Which Providers will QMB or Medicaid Pay the Medicare Co-Insurance?. "Providers must enroll as Medicaid providers in order to bill Medicaid for the Medicare coinsurance." CMS Informational Bulletin issued January 6, 2012, titled "Billing for Services Provided to Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMBs).

The CMS bulletin states, "If the provider wants Medicaid to pay the coinsurance, then the provider must register as a Medicaid provider under the state rules." If the provider chooses not to enroll as a Medicaid provider, they still may not "balance bill" the QMB recipient for the coinsurance. 2. How Does a Provider that DOES accept Medicaid Bill for a QMB Beneficiary?.

If beneficiary has Original Medicare -- The provider bills Medicaid - even if the QMB Beneficiary does not also have Medicaid. Medicaid is required to pay the provider for all Medicare Part A and B cost-sharing charges, even if the service is normally not covered by Medicaid (ie, chiropractic, podiatry and clinical social work care). Whatever reimbursement Medicaid pays the provider constitutes by law payment in full, and the provider cannot bill the beneficiary for any difference remaining.

42 U.S.C. § 1396a(n)(3)(A), NYS DOH 2000-ADM-7 If the QMB beneficiary is in a Medicare Advantage plan - The provider bills the Medicare Advantage plan, then bills Medicaid for the balance using a “16” code to get paid. The provider must include the amount it received from Medicare Advantage plan.

3. For a Provider who accepts Medicaid, How Much of the Medicare Coinsurance will be Paid for a QMB or Medicaid Beneficiary in NYS?. The answer to this question has changed by laws enacted in 2015 and 2016.

In the proposed 2019 State Budget, Gov. Cuomo has proposed to reduce how much Medicaid pays for the Medicare costs even further. The amount Medicaid pays is different depending on whether the individual has Original Medicare or is a Medicare Advantage plan, with better payment for those in Medicare Advantage plans.

The answer also differs based on the type of service. Part A Deductibles and Coinsurance - Medicaid pays the full Part A hospital deductible ($1,408 in 2020) and Skilled Nursing Facility coinsurance ($176/day) for days 20 - 100 of a rehab stay. Full payment is made for QMB beneficiaries and Medicaid recipients who have no spend-down.

Payments are reduced if the beneficiary has a Medicaid spend-down. For in-patient hospital deductible, Medicaid will pay only if six times the monthly spend-down has been met. For example, if Mary has a $200/month spend down which has not been met otherwise, Medicaid will pay only $164 of the hospital deductible (the amount exceeding 6 x $200).

See more on spend-down here. Medicare Part B - Deductible - Currently, Medicaid pays the full Medicare approved charges until the beneficiary has met the annual deductible, which is $198 in 2020. For example, Dr.

John charges $500 for a visit, for which the Medicare approved charge is $198. Medicaid pays the entire $198, meeting the deductible. If the beneficiary has a spend-down, then the Medicaid payment would be subject to the spend-down.

In the 2019 proposed state budget, Gov. Cuomo proposed to reduce the amount Medicaid pays toward the deductible to the same amount paid for coinsurance during the year, described below. This proposal was REJECTED by the state legislature.

Co-Insurance - The amount medicaid pays in NYS is different for Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage. If individual has Original Medicare, QMB/Medicaid will pay the 20% Part B coinsurance only to the extent the total combined payment the provider receives from Medicare and Medicaid is the lesser of the Medicaid or Medicare rate for the service. For example, if the Medicare rate for a service is $100, the coinsurance is $20.

If the Medicaid rate for the same service is only $80 or less, Medicaid would pay nothing, as it would consider the doctor fully paid = the provider has received the full Medicaid rate, which is lesser than the Medicare rate. Exceptions - Medicaid/QMB wil pay the full coinsurance for the following services, regardless of the Medicaid rate. ambulance and psychologists - The Gov's 2019 proposal to eliminate these exceptions was rejected.

hospital outpatient clinic, certain facilities operating under certificates issued under the Mental Hygiene Law for people with developmental disabilities, psychiatric disability, and chemical dependence (Mental Hygiene Law Articles 16, 31 or 32). SSL 367-a, subd. 1(d)(iii)-(v) , as amended 2015 If individual is in a Medicare Advantage plan, 85% of the copayment will be paid to the provider (must be a Medicaid provider), regardless of how low the Medicaid rate is.

This limit was enacted in the 2016 State Budget, and is better than what the Governor proposed - which was the same rule used in Original Medicare -- NONE of the copayment or coinsurance would be paid if the Medicaid rate was lower than the Medicare rate for the service, which is usually the case. This would have deterred doctors and other providers from being willing to treat them. SSL 367-a, subd.

1(d)(iv), added 2016. EXCEPTIONS. The Medicare Advantage plan must pay the full coinsurance for the following services, regardless of the Medicaid rate.

ambulance ) psychologist ) The Gov's proposal in the 2019 budget to eliminate these exceptions was rejected by the legislature Example to illustrate the current rules. The Medicare rate for Mary's specialist visit is $185. The Medicaid rate for the same service is $120.

Current rules (since 2016). Medicare Advantage -- Medicare Advantage plan pays $135 and Mary is charged a copayment of $50 (amount varies by plan). Medicaid pays the specialist 85% of the $50 copayment, which is $42.50.

The doctor is prohibited by federal law from "balance billing" QMB beneficiaries for the balance of that copayment. Since provider is getting $177.50 of the $185 approved rate, provider will hopefully not be deterred from serving Mary or other QMBs/Medicaid recipients. Original Medicare - The 20% coinsurance is $37.

Medicaid pays none of the coinsurance because the Medicaid rate ($120) is lower than the amount the provider already received from Medicare ($148). For both Medicare Advantage and Original Medicare, if the bill was for a ambulance or psychologist, Medicaid would pay the full 20% coinsurance regardless of the Medicaid rate. The proposal to eliminate this exception was rejected by the legislature in 2019 budget.

. 4. May the Provider 'Balance Bill" a QMB Benficiary for the Coinsurance if Provider Does Not Accept Medicaid, or if Neither the Patient or Medicaid/QMB pays any coinsurance?.

No. Balance billing is banned by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. 42 U.S.C.

§ 1396a(n)(3)(A). In an Informational Bulletin issued January 6, 2012, titled "Billing for Services Provided to Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMBs)," the federal Medicare agency - CMS - clarified that providers MAY NOT BILL QMB recipients for the Medicare coinsurance. This is true whether or not the provider is registered as a Medicaid provider.

If the provider wants Medicaid to pay the coinsurance, then the provider must register as a Medicaid provider under the state rules. This is a change in policy in implementing Section 1902(n)(3)(B) of the Social Security Act (the Act), as modified by section 4714 of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, which prohibits Medicare providers from balance-billing QMBs for Medicare cost-sharing. The CMS letter states, "All Medicare physicians, providers, and suppliers who offer services and supplies to QMBs are prohibited from billing QMBs for Medicare cost-sharing, including deductible, coinsurance, and copayments.

This section of the Act is available at. CMCS Informational Bulletin http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/ssact/title19/1902.htm. QMBs have no legal obligation to make further payment to a provider or Medicare managed care plan for Part A or Part B cost sharing.

Providers who inappropriately bill QMBs for Medicare cost-sharing are subject to sanctions. Please note that the statute referenced above supersedes CMS State Medicaid Manual, Chapter 3, Eligibility, 3490.14 (b), which is no longer in effect, but may be causing confusion about QMB billing." The same information was sent to providers in this Medicare Learning Network bulletin, last revised in June 26, 2018. CMS reminded Medicare Advantage plans of the rule against Balance Billing in the 2017 Call Letter for plan renewals.

See this excerpt of the 2017 call letter by Justice in Aging - Prohibition on Billing Medicare-Medicaid Enrollees for Medicare Cost Sharing 5. How do QMB Beneficiaries Show a Provider that they have QMB and cannot be Billed for the Coinsurance?. It can be difficult to show a provider that one is a QMB.

It is especially difficult for providers who are not Medicaid providers to identify QMB's, since they do not have access to online Medicaid eligibility systems Consumers can now call 1-800-MEDICARE to verify their QMB Status and report a billing issue. If a consumer reports a balance billng problem to this number, the Customer Service Rep can escalate the complaint to the Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC), which will send a compliance letter to the provider with a copy to the consumer. See CMS Medicare Learning Network Bulletin effective Dec.

16, 2016. Medicare Summary Notices (MSNs) that Medicare beneficiaries receive every three months state that QMBs have no financial liability for co-insurance for each Medicare-covered service listed on the MSN. The Remittance Advice (RA) that Medicare sends to providers shows the same information.

By spelling out billing protections on a service-by-service basis, the MSNs provide clarity for both the QMB beneficiary and the provider. Justice in Aging has posted samples of what the new MSNs look like here. They have also updated Justice in Aging’s Improper Billing Toolkit to incorporate references to the MSNs in its model letters that you can use to advocate for clients who have been improperly billed for Medicare-covered services.

CMS is implementing systems changes that will notify providers when they process a Medicare claim that the patient is QMB and has no cost-sharing liability. The Medicare Summary Notice sent to the beneficiary will also state that the beneficiary has QMB and no liability. These changes were scheduled to go into effect in October 2017, but have been delayed.

Read more about them in this Justice in Aging Issue Brief on New Strategies in Fighting Improper Billing for QMBs (Feb. 2017). QMBs are issued a Medicaid benefit card (by mail), even if they do not also receive Medicaid.

The card is the mechanism for health care providers to bill the QMB program for the Medicare deductibles and co-pays. Unfortunately, the Medicaid card dos not indicate QMB eligibility. Not all people who have Medicaid also have QMB (they may have higher incomes and "spend down" to the Medicaid limits.

Advocates have asked for a special QMB card, or a notation on the Medicaid card to show that the individual has QMB. See this Report - a National Survey on QMB Identification Practices published by Justice in Aging, authored by Peter Travitsky, NYLAG EFLRP staff attorney. The Report, published in March 2017, documents how QMB beneficiaries could be better identified in order to ensure providers do not bill them improperly.

6. If you are Billed -​ Strategies Consumers can now call 1-800-MEDICARE to report a billing issue. If a consumer reports a balance billng problem to this number, the Customer Service Rep can escalate the complaint to the Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC), which will send a compliance letter to the provider with a copy to the consumer.

See CMS Medicare Learning Network Bulletin effective Dec. 16, 2016. Send a letter to the provider, using the Justice In Aging Model model letters to providers to explain QMB rights.​​​ both for Original Medicare (Letters 1-2) and Medicare Advantage (Letters 3-5) - see Overview of model letters.

Include a link to the CMS Medicare Learning Network Notice.

L best online lasix buy lasix with free samples. § 367-a(3)(a), (b), and (d). 2020 Medicare 101 Basics for New York State - 1.5 hour webinar by Eric Hausman, sponsored by NYS Office of the Aging TOPICS COVERED IN THIS ARTICLE 1. No Asset buy lasix with free samples Limit 1A. Summary Chart of MSP Programs 2.

Income Limits &. Rules buy lasix with free samples and Household Size 3. The Three MSP Programs - What are they and how are they Different?. 4. FOUR Special Benefits of buy lasix with free samples MSP Programs.

Back Door to Extra Help with Part D MSPs Automatically Waive Late Enrollment Penalties for Part B - and allow enrollment in Part B year-round outside of the short Annual Enrollment Period No Medicaid Lien on Estate to Recover Payment of Expenses Paid by MSP Food Stamps/SNAP not reduced by Decreased Medical Expenses when Enroll in MSP - at least temporarily 5. Enrolling in an MSP - Automatic Enrollment &. Applications for People who Have Medicare What is Application Process? buy lasix with free samples. 6. Enrolling in an MSP for People age 65+ who Do Not Qualify for Free Medicare Part A - the "Part A Buy-In Program" 7.

What Happens After MSP Approved - How Part B Premium is Paid 8 Special buy lasix with free samples Rules for QMBs - How Medicare Cost-Sharing Works 1. NO ASSET LIMIT!. Since April 1, 2008, none of the three MSP programs have resource limits in New York -- which means many Medicare beneficiaries who might not qualify for Medicaid because of excess resources can qualify for an MSP. 1.A buy lasix with free samples. SUMMARY CHART OF MSP BENEFITS QMB SLIMB QI-1 Eligibility ASSET LIMIT NO LIMIT IN NEW YORK STATE INCOME LIMIT (2020) Single Couple Single Couple Single Couple $1,064 $1,437 $1,276 $1,724 $1,436 $1,940 Federal Poverty Level 100% FPL 100 – 120% FPL 120 – 135% FPL Benefits Pays Monthly Part B premium?.

YES, and also Part A premium if did not have enough work quarters and meets citizenship requirement. See “Part buy lasix with free samples A Buy-In” YES YES Pays Part A &. B deductibles &. Co-insurance YES - with limitations NO NO Retroactive to Filing of Application?. Yes - Benefits begin the month after the month of buy lasix with free samples the MSP application.

18 NYCRR §360-7.8(b)(5) Yes – Retroactive to 3rd month before month of application, if eligible in prior months Yes – may be retroactive to 3rd month before month of applica-tion, but only within the current calendar year. (No retro for January application). See GIS 07 buy lasix with free samples MA 027. Can Enroll in MSP and Medicaid at Same Time?. YES YES NO!.

Must buy lasix with free samples choose between QI-1 and Medicaid. Cannot have both, not even Medicaid with a spend-down. 2. INCOME LIMITS and RULES Each of the three MSP buy lasix with free samples programs has different income eligibility requirements and provides different benefits. The income limits are tied to the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

2019 FPL levels were released by NYS DOH in GIS 20 MA/02 - 2020 Federal Poverty Levels -- Attachment II and have been posted by Medicaid.gov and the National Council on Aging and are in the chart below. NOTE buy lasix with free samples. There is usually a lag in time of several weeks, or even months, from January 1st of each year until the new FPLs are release, and then before the new MSP income limits are officially implemented. During this lag period, local Medicaid offices should continue to use the previous year's FPLs AND count the person's Social Security benefit amount from the previous year - do NOT factor in the Social Security COLA (cost of living adjustment). Once the updated guidelines are released, districts will use the new FPLs and buy lasix with free samples go ahead and factor in any COLA.

See 2019 Fact Sheet on MSP in NYS by Medicare Rights Center ENGLISH SPANISH Income is determined by the same methodology as is used for determining in eligibility for SSI The rules for counting income for SSI-related (Aged 65+, Blind, or Disabled) Medicaid recipients, borrowed from the SSI program, apply to the MSP program, except for the new rules about counting household size for married couples. N.Y. Soc. Serv. L.

367-a(3)(c)(2), NYS DOH 2000-ADM-7, 89-ADM-7 p.7. Gross income is counted, although there are certain types of income that are disregarded. The most common income disregards, also known as deductions, include. (a) The first $20 of your &. Your spouse's monthly income, earned or unearned ($20 per couple max).

(b) SSI EARNED INCOME DISREGARDS. * The first $65 of monthly wages of you and your spouse, * One-half of the remaining monthly wages (after the $65 is deducted). * Other work incentives including PASS plans, impairment related work expenses (IRWEs), blind work expenses, etc. For information on these deductions, see The Medicaid Buy-In for Working People with Disabilities (MBI-WPD) and other guides in this article -- though written for the MBI-WPD, the work incentives apply to all Medicaid programs, including MSP, for people age 65+, disabled or blind. (c) monthly cost of any health insurance premiums but NOT the Part B premium, since Medicaid will now pay this premium (may deduct Medigap supplemental policies, vision, dental, or long term care insurance premiums, and the Part D premium but only to the extent the premium exceeds the Extra Help benchmark amount) (d) Food stamps not counted.

You can get a more comprehensive listing of the SSI-related income disregards on the Medicaid income disregards chart. As for all benefit programs based on financial need, it is usually advantageous to be considered a larger household, because the income limit is higher. The above chart shows that Households of TWO have a higher income limit than households of ONE. The MSP programs use the same rules as Medicaid does for the Disabled, Aged and Blind (DAB) which are borrowed from the SSI program for Medicaid recipients in the “SSI-related category.” Under these rules, a household can be only ONE or TWO. 18 NYCRR 360-4.2.

See DAB Household Size Chart. Married persons can sometimes be ONE or TWO depending on arcane rules, which can force a Medicare beneficiary to be limited to the income limit for ONE person even though his spouse who is under 65 and not disabled has no income, and is supported by the client applying for an MSP. EXAMPLE. Bob's Social Security is $1300/month. He is age 67 and has Medicare.

His wife, Nancy, is age 62 and is not disabled and does not work. Under the old rule, Bob was not eligible for an MSP because his income was above the Income limit for One, even though it was well under the Couple limit. In 2010, NYS DOH modified its rules so that all married individuals will be considered a household size of TWO. DOH GIS 10 MA 10 Medicare Savings Program Household Size, June 4, 2010. This rule for household size is an exception to the rule applying SSI budgeting rules to the MSP program.

Under these rules, Bob is now eligible for an MSP. When is One Better than Two?. Of course, there may be couples where the non-applying spouse's income is too high, and disqualifies the applying spouse from an MSP. In such cases, "spousal refusal" may be used SSL 366.3(a). (Link is to NYC HRA form, can be adapted for other counties).

3. The Three Medicare Savings Programs - what are they and how are they different?. 1. Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB). The QMB program provides the most comprehensive benefits.

Available to those with incomes at or below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), the QMB program covers virtually all Medicare cost-sharing obligations. Part B premiums, Part A premiums, if there are any, and any and all deductibles and co-insurance. QMB coverage is not retroactive. The program’s benefits will begin the month after the month in which your client is found eligible. ** See special rules about cost-sharing for QMBs below - updated with new CMS directive issued January 2012 ** See NYC HRA QMB Recertification form ** Even if you do not have Part A automatically, because you did not have enough wages, you may be able to enroll in the Part A Buy-In Program, in which people eligible for QMB who do not otherwise have Medicare Part A may enroll, with Medicaid paying the Part A premium (Materials by the Medicare Rights Center).

2. Specifiedl Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB). For those with incomes between 100% and 120% FPL, the SLMB program will cover Part B premiums only. SLMB is retroactive, however, providing coverage for three months prior to the month of application, as long as your client was eligible during those months. 3.

Qualified Individual (QI-1). For those with incomes between 120% and 135% FPL, and not receiving Medicaid, the QI-1 program will cover Medicare Part B premiums only. QI-1 is also retroactive, providing coverage for three months prior to the month of application, as long as your client was eligible during those months. However, QI-1 retroactive coverage can only be provided within the current calendar year. (GIS 07 MA 027) So if you apply in January, you get no retroactive coverage.

Q-I-1 recipients would be eligible for Medicaid with a spend-down, but if they want the Part B premium paid, they must choose between enrolling in QI-1 or Medicaid. They cannot be in both. It is their choice. DOH MRG p. 19.

In contrast, one may receive Medicaid and either QMB or SLIMB. 4. Four Special Benefits of MSPs (in addition to NO ASSET TEST). Benefit 1. Back Door to Medicare Part D "Extra Help" or Low Income Subsidy -- All MSP recipients are automatically enrolled in Extra Help, the subsidy that makes Part D affordable.

They have no Part D deductible or doughnut hole, the premium is subsidized, and they pay very low copayments. Once they are enrolled in Extra Help by virtue of enrollment in an MSP, they retain Extra Help for the entire calendar year, even if they lose MSP eligibility during that year. The "Full" Extra Help subsidy has the same income limit as QI-1 - 135% FPL. However, many people may be eligible for QI-1 but not Extra Help because QI-1 and the other MSPs have no asset limit. People applying to the Social Security Administration for Extra Help might be rejected for this reason.

Recent (2009-10) changes to federal law called "MIPPA" requires the Social Security Administration (SSA) to share eligibility data with NYSDOH on all persons who apply for Extra Help/ the Low Income Subsidy. Data sent to NYSDOH from SSA will enable NYSDOH to open MSP cases on many clients. The effective date of the MSP application must be the same date as the Extra Help application. Signatures will not be required from clients. In cases where the SSA data is incomplete, NYSDOH will forward what is collected to the local district for completion of an MSP application.

The State implementing procedures are in DOH 2010 ADM-03. Also see CMS "Dear State Medicaid Director" letter dated Feb. 18, 2010 Benefit 2. MSPs Automatically Waive Late Enrollment Penalties for Part B Generally one must enroll in Part B within the strict enrollment periods after turning age 65 or after 24 months of Social Security Disability. An exception is if you or your spouse are still working and insured under an employer sponsored group health plan, or if you have End Stage Renal Disease, and other factors, see this from Medicare Rights Center.

If you fail to enroll within those short periods, you might have to pay higher Part B premiums for life as a Late Enrollment Penalty (LEP). Also, you may only enroll in Part B during the Annual Enrollment Period from January 1 - March 31st each year, with Part B not effective until the following July. Enrollment in an MSP automatically eliminates such penalties... For life.. Even if one later ceases to be eligible for the MSP.

AND enrolling in an MSP will automatically result in becoming enrolled in Part B if you didn't already have it and only had Part A. See Medicare Rights Center flyer. Benefit 3. No Medicaid Lien on Estate to Recover MSP Benefits Paid Generally speaking, states may place liens on the Estates of deceased Medicaid recipients to recover the cost of Medicaid services that were provided after the recipient reached the age of 55. Since 2002, states have not been allowed to recover the cost of Medicare premiums paid under MSPs.

In 2010, Congress expanded protection for MSP benefits. Beginning on January 1, 2010, states may not place liens on the Estates of Medicaid recipients who died after January 1, 2010 to recover costs for co-insurance paid under the QMB MSP program for services rendered after January 1, 2010. The federal government made this change in order to eliminate barriers to enrollment in MSPs. See NYS DOH GIS 10-MA-008 - Medicare Savings Program Changes in Estate Recovery The GIS clarifies that a client who receives both QMB and full Medicaid is exempt from estate recovery for these Medicare cost-sharing expenses. Benefit 4.

SNAP (Food Stamp) benefits not reduced despite increased income from MSP - at least temporarily Many people receive both SNAP (Food Stamp) benefits and MSP. Income for purposes of SNAP/Food Stamps is reduced by a deduction for medical expenses, which includes payment of the Part B premium. Since approval for an MSP means that the client no longer pays for the Part B premium, his/her SNAP/Food Stamps income goes up, so their SNAP/Food Stamps go down. Here are some protections. Do these individuals have to report to their SNAP worker that their out of pocket medical costs have decreased?.

And will the household see a reduction in their SNAP benefits, since the decrease in medical expenses will increase their countable income?. The good news is that MSP households do NOT have to report the decrease in their medical expenses to the SNAP/Food Stamp office until their next SNAP/Food Stamp recertification. Even if they do report the change, or the local district finds out because the same worker is handling both the MSP and SNAP case, there should be no reduction in the household’s benefit until the next recertification. New York’s SNAP policy per administrative directive 02 ADM-07 is to “freeze” the deduction for medical expenses between certification periods. Increases in medical expenses can be budgeted at the household’s request, but NYS never decreases a household’s medical expense deduction until the next recertification.

Most elderly and disabled households have 24-month SNAP certification periods. Eventually, though, the decrease in medical expenses will need to be reported when the household recertifies for SNAP, and the household should expect to see a decrease in their monthly SNAP benefit. It is really important to stress that the loss in SNAP benefits is NOT dollar for dollar. A $100 decrease in out of pocket medical expenses would translate roughly into a $30 drop in SNAP benefits. See more info on SNAP/Food Stamp benefits by the Empire Justice Center, and on the State OTDA website.

Some clients will be automatically enrolled in an MSP by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) shortly after attaining eligibility for Medicare. Others need to apply. The 2010 "MIPPA" law introduced some improvements to increase MSP enrollment. See 3rd bullet below. Also, some people who had Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act before they became eligible for Medicare have special procedures to have their Part B premium paid before they enroll in an MSP.

See below. WHO IS AUTOMATICALLY ENROLLED IN AN MSP. Clients receiving even $1.00 of Supplemental Security Income should be automatically enrolled into a Medicare Savings Program (most often QMB) under New York State’s Medicare Savings Program Buy-in Agreement with the federal government once they become eligible for Medicare. They should receive Medicare Parts A and B. Clients who are already eligible for Medicare when they apply for Medicaid should be automatically assessed for MSP eligibility when they apply for Medicaid.

(NYS DOH 2000-ADM-7 and GIS 05 MA 033). Clients who apply to the Social Security Administration for Extra Help, but are rejected, should be contacted &. Enrolled into an MSP by the Medicaid program directly under new MIPPA procedures that require data sharing. Strategy TIP. Since the Extra Help filing date will be assigned to the MSP application, it may help the client to apply online for Extra Help with the SSA, even knowing that this application will be rejected because of excess assets or other reason.

SSA processes these requests quickly, and it will be routed to the State for MSP processing. Since MSP applications take a while, at least the filing date will be retroactive. Note. The above strategy does not work as well for QMB, because the effective date of QMB is the month after the month of application. As a result, the retroactive effective date of Extra Help will be the month after the failed Extra Help application for those with QMB rather than SLMB/QI-1.

Applying for MSP Directly with Local Medicaid Program. Those who do not have Medicaid already must apply for an MSP through their local social services district. (See more in Section D. Below re those who already have Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act before they became eligible for Medicare. If you are applying for MSP only (not also Medicaid), you can use the simplified MSP application form (theDOH-4328(Rev.

8/2017-- English) (2017 Spanish version not yet available). Either application form can be mailed in -- there is no interview requirement anymore for MSP or Medicaid. See 10 ADM-04. Applicants will need to submit proof of income, a copy of their Medicare card (front &. Back), and proof of residency/address.

See the application form for other instructions. One who is only eligible for QI-1 because of higher income may ONLY apply for an MSP, not for Medicaid too. One may not receive Medicaid and QI-1 at the same time. If someone only eligible for QI-1 wants Medicaid, s/he may enroll in and deposit excess income into a pooled Supplemental Needs Trust, to bring her countable income down to the Medicaid level, which also qualifies him or her for SLIMB or QMB instead of QI-1. Advocates in NYC can sign up for a half-day "Deputization Training" conducted by the Medicare Rights Center, at which you'll be trained and authorized to complete an MSP application and to submit it via the Medicare Rights Center, which submits it to HRA without the client having to apply in person.

Enrolling in an MSP if you already have Medicaid, but just become eligible for Medicare Those who, prior to becoming enrolled in Medicare, had Medicaid through Affordable Care Act are eligible to have their Part B premiums paid by Medicaid (or the cost reimbursed) during the time it takes for them to transition to a Medicare Savings Program. In 2018, DOH clarified that reimbursement of the Part B premium will be made regardless of whether the individual is still in a Medicaid managed care (MMC) plan. GIS 18 MA/001 Medicaid Managed Care Transition for Enrollees Gaining Medicare ( PDF) provides, "Due to efforts to transition individuals who gain Medicare eligibility and who require LTSS, individuals may not be disenrolled from MMC upon receipt of Medicare. To facilitate the transition and not disadvantage the recipient, the Medicaid program is approving reimbursement of Part B premiums for enrollees in MMC." The procedure for getting the Part B premium paid is different for those whose Medicaid was administered by the NYS of Health Exchange (Marketplace), as opposed to their local social services district. The procedure is also different for those who obtain Medicare because they turn 65, as opposed to obtaining Medicare based on disability.

Either way, Medicaid recipients who transition onto Medicare should be automatically evaluated for MSP eligibility at their next Medicaid recertification. NYS DOH 2000-ADM-7 Individuals can also affirmatively ask to be enrolled in MSP in between recertification periods. IF CLIENT HAD MEDICAID ON THE MARKETPLACE (NYS of Health Exchange) before obtaining Medicare. IF they obtain Medicare because they turn age 65, they will receive a letter from their local district asking them to "renew" Medicaid through their local district. See 2014 LCM-02.

Now, their Medicaid income limit will be lower than the MAGI limits ($842/ mo reduced from $1387/month) and they now will have an asset test. For this reason, some individuals may lose full Medicaid eligibility when they begin receiving Medicare. People over age 65 who obtain Medicare do NOT keep "Marketplace Medicaid" for 12 months (continuous eligibility) See GIS 15 MA/022 - Continuous Coverage for MAGI Individuals. Since MSP has NO ASSET limit. Some individuals may be enrolled in the MSP even if they lose Medicaid, or if they now have a Medicaid spend-down.

If a Medicare/Medicaid recipient reports income that exceeds the Medicaid level, districts must evaluate the person’s eligibility for MSP. 08 OHIP/ADM-4 ​If you became eligible for Medicare based on disability and you are UNDER AGE 65, you are entitled to keep MAGI Medicaid for 12 months from the month it was last authorized, even if you now have income normally above the MAGI limit, and even though you now have Medicare. This is called Continuous Eligibility. EXAMPLE. Sam, age 60, was last authorized for Medicaid on the Marketplace in June 2016.

He became enrolled in Medicare based on disability in August 2016, and started receiving Social Security in the same month (he won a hearing approving Social Security disability benefits retroactively, after first being denied disability). Even though his Social Security is too high, he can keep Medicaid for 12 months beginning June 2016. Sam has to pay for his Part B premium - it is deducted from his Social Security check. He may call the Marketplace and request a refund. This will continue until the end of his 12 months of continues MAGI Medicaid eligibility.

He will be reimbursed regardless of whether he is in a Medicaid managed care plan. See GIS 18 MA/001 Medicaid Managed Care Transition for Enrollees Gaining Medicare (PDF) When that ends, he will renew Medicaid and apply for MSP with his local district. Individuals who are eligible for Medicaid with a spenddown can opt whether or not to receive MSP. (Medicaid Reference Guide (MRG) p. 19).

Obtaining MSP may increase their spenddown. MIPPA - Outreach by Social Security Administration -- Under MIPPA, the SSA sends a form letter to people who may be eligible for a Medicare Savings Program or Extra Help (Low Income Subsidy - LIS) that they may apply. The letters are. · Beneficiary has Extra Help (LIS), but not MSP · Beneficiary has no Extra Help (LIS) or MSP 6. Enrolling in MSP for People Age 65+ who do Not have Free Medicare Part A - the "Part A Buy-In Program" Seniors WITHOUT MEDICARE PART A or B -- They may be able to enroll in the Part A Buy-In program, in which people eligible for QMB who are age 65+ who do not otherwise have Medicare Part A may enroll in Part A, with Medicaid paying the Part A premium.

See Step-by-Step Guide by the Medicare Rights Center). This guide explains the various steps in "conditionally enrolling" in Part A at the SSA office, which must be done before applying for QMB at the Medicaid office, which will then pay the Part A premium. See also GIS 04 MA/013. In June, 2018, the SSA revised the POMS manual procedures for the Part A Buy-In to to address inconsistencies and confusion in SSA field offices and help smooth the path for QMB enrollment. The procedures are in the POMS Section HI 00801.140 "Premium-Free Part A Enrollments for Qualified Medicare BenefiIaries." It includes important clarifications, such as.

SSA Field Offices should explain the QMB program and conditional enrollment process if an individual lacks premium-free Part A and appears to meet QMB requirements. SSA field offices can add notes to the “Remarks” section of the application and provide a screen shot to the individual so the individual can provide proof of conditional Part A enrollment when applying for QMB through the state Medicaid program. Beneficiaries are allowed to complete the conditional application even if they owe Medicare premiums. In Part A Buy-in states like NYS, SSA should process conditional applications on a rolling basis (without regard to enrollment periods), even if the application coincides with the General Enrollment Period. (The General Enrollment Period is from Jan 1 to March 31st every year, in which anyone eligible may enroll in Medicare Part A or Part B to be effective on July 1st).

7. What happens after the MSP approval - How is Part B premium paid For all three MSP programs, the Medicaid program is now responsible for paying the Part B premiums, even though the MSP enrollee is not necessarily a recipient of Medicaid. The local Medicaid office (DSS/HRA) transmits the MSP approval to the NYS Department of Health – that information gets shared w/ SSA and CMS SSA stops deducting the Part B premiums out of the beneficiary’s Social Security check. SSA also refunds any amounts owed to the recipient. (Note.

This process can take awhile!. !. !. ) CMS “deems” the MSP recipient eligible for Part D Extra Help/ Low Income Subsidy (LIS). ​Can the MSP be retroactive like Medicaid, back to 3 months before the application?.

​The answer is different for the 3 MSP programs. QMB -No Retroactive Eligibility – Benefits begin the month after the month of the MSP application. 18 NYCRR § 360-7.8(b)(5) SLIMB - YES - Retroactive Eligibility up to 3 months before the application, if was eligible This means applicant may be reimbursed for the 3 months of Part B benefits prior to the month of application. QI-1 - YES up to 3 months but only in the same calendar year. No retroactive eligibility to the previous year.

7. QMBs -Special Rules on Cost-Sharing. QMB is the only MSP program which pays not only the Part B premium, but also the Medicare co-insurance. However, there are limitations. First, co-insurance will only be paid if the provide accepts Medicaid.

Not all Medicare provides accept Medicaid. Second, under recent changes in New York law, Medicaid will not always pay the Medicare co-insurance, even to a Medicaid provider. But even if the provider does not accept Medicaid, or if Medicaid does not pay the full co-insurance, the provider is banned from "balance billing" the QMB beneficiary for the co-insurance. Click here for an article that explains all of these rules. This article was authored by the Empire Justice Center.THE PROBLEM.

Meet Joe, whose Doctor has Billed him for the Medicare Coinsurance Joe Client is disabled and has SSD, Medicaid and Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB). His health care is covered by Medicare, and Medicaid and the QMB program pick up his Medicare cost-sharing obligations. Under Medicare Part B, his co-insurance is 20% of the Medicare-approved charge for most outpatient services. He went to the doctor recently and, as with any other Medicare beneficiary, the doctor handed him a bill for his co-pay. Now Joe has a bill that he can’t pay.

Read below to find out -- SHORT ANSWER. QMB or Medicaid will pay the Medicare coinsurance only in limited situations. First, the provider must be a Medicaid provider. Second, even if the provider accepts Medicaid, under recent legislation in New York enacted in 2015 and 2016, QMB or Medicaid may pay only part of the coinsurance, or none at all. This depends in part on whether the beneficiary has Original Medicare or is in a Medicare Advantage plan, and in part on the type of service.

However, the bottom line is that the provider is barred from "balance billing" a QMB beneficiary for the Medicare coinsurance. Unfortunately, this creates tension between an individual and her doctors, pharmacies dispensing Part B medications, and other providers. Providers may not know they are not allowed to bill a QMB beneficiary for Medicare coinsurance, since they bill other Medicare beneficiaries. Even those who know may pressure their patients to pay, or simply decline to serve them. These rights and the ramifications of these QMB rules are explained in this article.

CMS is doing more education about QMB Rights. The Medicare Handbook, since 2017, gives information about QMB Protections. Download the 2020 Medicare Handbook here. See pp. 53, 86.

1. To Which Providers will QMB or Medicaid Pay the Medicare Co-Insurance?. "Providers must enroll as Medicaid providers in order to bill Medicaid for the Medicare coinsurance." CMS Informational Bulletin issued January 6, 2012, titled "Billing for Services Provided to Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMBs). The CMS bulletin states, "If the provider wants Medicaid to pay the coinsurance, then the provider must register as a Medicaid provider under the state rules." If the provider chooses not to enroll as a Medicaid provider, they still may not "balance bill" the QMB recipient for the coinsurance. 2.

How Does a Provider that DOES accept Medicaid Bill for a QMB Beneficiary?. If beneficiary has Original Medicare -- The provider bills Medicaid - even if the QMB Beneficiary does not also have Medicaid. Medicaid is required to pay the provider for all Medicare Part A and B cost-sharing charges, even if the service is normally not covered by Medicaid (ie, chiropractic, podiatry and clinical social work care). Whatever reimbursement Medicaid pays the provider constitutes by law payment in full, and the provider cannot bill the beneficiary for any difference remaining. 42 U.S.C.

§ 1396a(n)(3)(A), NYS DOH 2000-ADM-7 If the QMB beneficiary is in a Medicare Advantage plan - The provider bills the Medicare Advantage plan, then bills Medicaid for the balance using a “16” code to get paid. The provider must include the amount it received from Medicare Advantage plan. 3. For a Provider who accepts Medicaid, How Much of the Medicare Coinsurance will be Paid for a QMB or Medicaid Beneficiary in NYS?. The answer to this question has changed by laws enacted in 2015 and 2016.

In the proposed 2019 State Budget, Gov. Cuomo has proposed to reduce how much Medicaid pays for the Medicare costs even further. The amount Medicaid pays is different depending on whether the individual has Original Medicare or is a Medicare Advantage plan, with better payment for those in Medicare Advantage plans. The answer also differs based on the type of service. Part A Deductibles and Coinsurance - Medicaid pays the full Part A hospital deductible ($1,408 in 2020) and Skilled Nursing Facility coinsurance ($176/day) for days 20 - 100 of a rehab stay.

Full payment is made for QMB beneficiaries and Medicaid recipients who have no spend-down. Payments are reduced if the beneficiary has a Medicaid spend-down. For in-patient hospital deductible, Medicaid will pay only if six times the monthly spend-down has been met. For example, if Mary has a $200/month spend down which has not been met otherwise, Medicaid will pay only $164 of the hospital deductible (the amount exceeding 6 x $200). See more on spend-down here.

Medicare Part B - Deductible - Currently, Medicaid pays the full Medicare approved charges until the beneficiary has met the annual deductible, which is $198 in 2020. For example, Dr. John charges $500 for a visit, for which the Medicare approved charge is $198. Medicaid pays the entire $198, meeting the deductible. If the beneficiary has a spend-down, then the Medicaid payment would be subject to the spend-down.

In the 2019 proposed state budget, Gov. Cuomo proposed to reduce the amount Medicaid pays toward the deductible to the same amount paid for coinsurance during the year, described below. This proposal was REJECTED by the state legislature. Co-Insurance - The amount medicaid pays in NYS is different for Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage. If individual has Original Medicare, QMB/Medicaid will pay the 20% Part B coinsurance only to the extent the total combined payment the provider receives from Medicare and Medicaid is the lesser of the Medicaid or Medicare rate for the service.

For example, if the Medicare rate for a service is $100, the coinsurance is $20. If the Medicaid rate for the same service is only $80 or less, Medicaid would pay nothing, as it would consider the doctor fully paid = the provider has received the full Medicaid rate, which is lesser than the Medicare rate. Exceptions - Medicaid/QMB wil pay the full coinsurance for the following services, regardless of the Medicaid rate. ambulance and psychologists - The Gov's 2019 proposal to eliminate these exceptions was rejected. hospital outpatient clinic, certain facilities operating under certificates issued under the Mental Hygiene Law for people with developmental disabilities, psychiatric disability, and chemical dependence (Mental Hygiene Law Articles 16, 31 or 32).

SSL 367-a, subd. 1(d)(iii)-(v) , as amended 2015 If individual is in a Medicare Advantage plan, 85% of the copayment will be paid to the provider (must be a Medicaid provider), regardless of how low the Medicaid rate is. This limit was enacted in the 2016 State Budget, and is better than what the Governor proposed - which was the same rule used in Original Medicare -- NONE of the copayment or coinsurance would be paid if the Medicaid rate was lower than the Medicare rate for the service, which is usually the case. This would have deterred doctors and other providers from being willing to treat them. SSL 367-a, subd.

1(d)(iv), added 2016. EXCEPTIONS. The Medicare Advantage plan must pay the full coinsurance for the following services, regardless of the Medicaid rate. ambulance ) psychologist ) The Gov's proposal in the 2019 budget to eliminate these exceptions was rejected by the legislature Example to illustrate the current rules. The Medicare rate for Mary's specialist visit is $185.

The Medicaid rate for the same service is $120. Current rules (since 2016). Medicare Advantage -- Medicare Advantage plan pays $135 and Mary is charged a copayment of $50 (amount varies by plan). Medicaid pays the specialist 85% of the $50 copayment, which is $42.50. The doctor is prohibited by federal law from "balance billing" QMB beneficiaries for the balance of that copayment.

Since provider is getting $177.50 of the $185 approved rate, provider will hopefully not be deterred from serving Mary or other QMBs/Medicaid recipients. Original Medicare - The 20% coinsurance is $37. Medicaid pays none of the coinsurance because the Medicaid rate ($120) is lower than the amount the provider already received from Medicare ($148). For both Medicare Advantage and Original Medicare, if the bill was for a ambulance or psychologist, Medicaid would pay the full 20% coinsurance regardless of the Medicaid rate. The proposal to eliminate this exception was rejected by the legislature in 2019 budget.

. 4. May the Provider 'Balance Bill" a QMB Benficiary for the Coinsurance if Provider Does Not Accept Medicaid, or if Neither the Patient or Medicaid/QMB pays any coinsurance?. No. Balance billing is banned by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.

42 U.S.C. § 1396a(n)(3)(A). In an Informational Bulletin issued January 6, 2012, titled "Billing for Services Provided to Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMBs)," the federal Medicare agency - CMS - clarified that providers MAY NOT BILL QMB recipients for the Medicare coinsurance. This is true whether or not the provider is registered as a Medicaid provider. If the provider wants Medicaid to pay the coinsurance, then the provider must register as a Medicaid provider under the state rules.

This is a change in policy in implementing Section 1902(n)(3)(B) of the Social Security Act (the Act), as modified by section 4714 of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, which prohibits Medicare providers from balance-billing QMBs for Medicare cost-sharing. The CMS letter states, "All Medicare physicians, providers, and suppliers who offer services and supplies to QMBs are prohibited from billing QMBs for Medicare cost-sharing, including deductible, coinsurance, and copayments. This section of the Act is available at. CMCS Informational Bulletin http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/ssact/title19/1902.htm. QMBs have no legal obligation to make further payment to a provider or Medicare managed care plan for Part A or Part B cost sharing.

Providers who inappropriately bill QMBs for Medicare cost-sharing are subject to sanctions. Please note that the statute referenced above supersedes CMS State Medicaid Manual, Chapter 3, Eligibility, 3490.14 (b), which is no longer in effect, but may be causing confusion about QMB billing." The same information was sent to providers in this Medicare Learning Network bulletin, last revised in June 26, 2018. CMS reminded Medicare Advantage plans of the rule against Balance Billing in the 2017 Call Letter for plan renewals. See this excerpt of the 2017 call letter by Justice in Aging - Prohibition on Billing Medicare-Medicaid Enrollees for Medicare Cost Sharing 5. How do QMB Beneficiaries Show a Provider that they have QMB and cannot be Billed for the Coinsurance?.

It can be difficult to show a provider that one is a QMB. It is especially difficult for providers who are not Medicaid providers to identify QMB's, since they do not have access to online Medicaid eligibility systems Consumers can now call 1-800-MEDICARE to verify their QMB Status and report a billing issue. If a consumer reports a balance billng problem to this number, the Customer Service Rep can escalate the complaint to the Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC), which will send a compliance letter to the provider with a copy to the consumer. See CMS Medicare Learning Network Bulletin effective Dec. 16, 2016.

Medicare Summary Notices (MSNs) that Medicare beneficiaries receive every three months state that QMBs have no financial liability for co-insurance for each Medicare-covered service listed on the MSN. The Remittance Advice (RA) that Medicare sends to providers shows the same information. By spelling out billing protections on a service-by-service basis, the MSNs provide clarity for both the QMB beneficiary and the provider. Justice in Aging has posted samples of what the new MSNs look like here. They have also updated Justice in Aging’s Improper Billing Toolkit to incorporate references to the MSNs in its model letters that you can use to advocate for clients who have been improperly billed for Medicare-covered services.

CMS is implementing systems changes that will notify providers when they process a Medicare claim that the patient is QMB and has no cost-sharing liability. The Medicare Summary Notice sent to the beneficiary will also state that the beneficiary has QMB and no liability. These changes were scheduled to go into effect in October 2017, but have been delayed. Read more about them in this Justice in Aging Issue Brief on New Strategies in Fighting Improper Billing for QMBs (Feb. 2017).

QMBs are issued a Medicaid benefit card (by mail), even if they do not also receive Medicaid. The card is the mechanism for health care providers to bill the QMB program for the Medicare deductibles and co-pays. Unfortunately, the Medicaid card dos not indicate QMB eligibility. Not all people who have Medicaid also have QMB (they may have higher incomes and "spend down" to the Medicaid limits. Advocates have asked for a special QMB card, or a notation on the Medicaid card to show that the individual has QMB.

See this Report - a National Survey on QMB Identification Practices published by Justice in Aging, authored by Peter Travitsky, NYLAG EFLRP staff attorney. The Report, published in March 2017, documents how QMB beneficiaries could be better identified in order to ensure providers do not bill them improperly. 6. If you are Billed -​ Strategies Consumers can now call 1-800-MEDICARE to report a billing issue. If a consumer reports a balance billng problem to this number, the Customer Service Rep can escalate the complaint to the Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC), which will send a compliance letter to the provider with a copy to the consumer.

See CMS Medicare Learning Network Bulletin effective Dec. 16, 2016. Send a letter to the provider, using the Justice In Aging Model model letters to providers to explain QMB rights.​​​ both for Original Medicare (Letters 1-2) and Medicare Advantage (Letters 3-5) - see Overview of model letters. Include a link to the CMS Medicare Learning Network Notice. Prohibition on Balance Billing Dually Eligible Individuals Enrolled in the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) Program (revised June 26.

What may interact with Lasix?

This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.

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Minnesota marketplace highlights and where can i buy lasix updatesOpen enrollment for 2021 health plans lasix for weight loss. November 1, 2020 lasix for weight loss through December 22, 2020. Residents with qualifying events can still enroll or make changes to their 2020 coverage.Insurers implementing modest rate increases for 2021, after three straight years of average rate decreases.

Quartz has joined the exchange for lasix for weight loss 2021, bringing total number of insurers to five.117,520 people enrolled for 2020, a new record for MNsure.Insurer participation in MNsure. 2014 to 2021.Reinsurance program received federal approval, began operation in 2018.With reinsurance, rates decreased for 2018 and again, even more significantly, for 2019. But reinsurance also reduced funding for MinnesotaCare.The elimination of CSR funding further reduced MinnesotaCare funding, but this has been partly restored by a court ruling.MN provided premium relief for non-subsidy-eligible enrollees for 2017 only.Governor vetoed a proposed 2019 switch to HealthCare.gov.MNsure’s small business exchange no longer has any participating insurers.Minnesota health exchange overviewMinnesota’s one of the states fighting the hardest to preserve the lasix for weight loss Affordable Care Act’s gains.

See actions Minnesota has taken.Minnesota’s state-run exchange, MNsure, has five participating insurers for 2021, up from four in 2020. The exchange has more than 117,000 individual market enrollees as of 2020.As a result of the hypertension medications lasix, MNsure joined most of the other state-run exchanges in offering a special enrollment period during which people who were uninsured could enroll in a health lasix for weight loss plan. MNsure’s special enrollment period began March 23, and continued through April 21.

Nearly 9,500 Minnesota residents enrolled in private plans through MNsure during this window, as well as another 13,700 who enrolled in MinnesotaCare or Medicaid (enrollment in those programs is open year-round for eligible residents).Allison O’Toole, who lasix for weight loss led MNsure as CEO for three years, announced her resignation in March 2018, and the exchange named Nate Clark, the MNsure COO, as acting CEO. A few months later, the MNsure board named Clark as the permanent CEO. O’Toole left MNsure to work as director of state affairs for United States of Care, a non-profit created by Andy Slavitt, who was the acting administrator of CMS under the Obama Administration.Throughout 2017, Minnesotans lasix for weight loss who bought their own health insurance (on or off-exchange) and weren’t eligible for ACA subsidies were provided with 25 percent premium rebates from the state as a result of S.F.1, signed into law by Governor Dayton in early 2017.

The subsidies helped to offset the large premium increases that applied in Minnesota in 2017, and helped to stabilize the individual health insurance market in 2017. But the lasix for weight loss premium rebate program expired at the end of 2017.Thanks in large part to the new reinsurance program that Minnesota created (details below), premiums decreased in Minnesota’s individual market in 2018, 2019, and again in 2020, although rates are increasing modestly for 2021. In May 2019, Minnesota leaders reached an agreement on a budget that included an extension of the reinsurance program through 2020 and 2021 (it has already been granted federal approval through the end of 2022, but the state has to continue to cover its share of the cost.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz had hoped to implement a premium subsidy lasix for weight loss program and a new tax credit in Minnesota starting in 2020. But a compromise in the budget ended up with the state opting to continue the existing reinsurance program for two more years instead.).But the waiver that provides federal pass-through funding for reinsurance also resulted in a sharp and unexpected decrease in federal funding for MinnesotaCare, the Basic Health Program that provides coverage for people with income between 138 percent and 200 percent of the poverty level (between $16,642 and $24,120 for a single person).In addition, the elimination of federal funding for cost-sharing reductions (CSR) in October 2018 resulted in a funding cut for MinnesotaCare, since the program is funded in large part by federal funds that would otherwise have been used to pay for premium subsidies and cost-sharing reductions in the exchange for the population that is instead eligible for MinnesotaCare. After an ensuing legal battle, a judge ordered HHS to restore funding for MinnesotaCare, although a resolution of the situation is ongoing, and the amount that HHS agreed to pay was still less than MinnesotaCare would have received if CSR funding lasix for weight loss had continued.Open enrollment for 2021 health plans extended through December 22, 2020.

Insurers implementing modest rate increases for 2021, after three years of overall rate decreasesMNsure enabled window shopping for 2021 health plans as of October 12, 2020. This gives residents a few weeks to browse lasix for weight loss the available plans before open enrollment starts on November 1, 2020. And MNsure has announced that open enrollment will continue through December 22, 2020.

That’s a week longer lasix for weight loss than the open enrollment period that will apply in states that use the federally-run exchange. The flexibility to extend open enrollment is often cited as one of the benefits of having a fully state-run exchange. (MNsure had a similar extension last December, for 2020 lasix for weight loss health plans).For 2021, Quartz is joining the Minnesota marketplace.

Quartz currently offers plans in Illinois and Wisconsin, and is expanding into Minnesota for 2021. And two of the existing insurers — HealthPartners and UCare — are expanding their coverage areas for 2021 (BluePlus and Medica lasix for weight loss offer coverage statewide, and will continue to do so in 2021).The following average rate changes have been approved for MNsure’s insurers:Blue Plus. 4.21 percent increase (down from an initially lasix for weight loss proposed 7.12 percent increase)Group Health/Health Partners (GHI).

0.67 percent increase (down from an initially proposed 4.15 percent increase)Medica. 2.42 percent increase (down from an initially proposed 7.06 percent lasix for weight loss increase)UCare. 1.6 percent increase (up from an initially proposed 1.39 percent decrease)Quartz.

New for 2021, so no applicable rate changePreferredOne Insurance Company, which offers plans outside the exchange, is increasing premiums by 1.05 percent (down from an initially lasix for weight loss proposed average increase of 5.09 percent). Rate changes in previous years2015. Average increase of 4.5 lasix for weight loss percent.

MNsure critics characterized the official announcement as misleading as it failed to take into account low-cost 2014 plans from PreferredOne. Consumers who bought a PreferredOne plan through MNsure for 2014 could only renew their policies for 2015 by working directly with the insurer, since PreferredOne stopped offering plans in the exchange at the end lasix for weight loss of 2014. However, PreferredOne rates went up an average of 63 percent, and consumers didn’t qualify for subsidies if they shopped outside the exchange.

2016. Average increase of 41.4 percent for the individual market, and about 38.5 for plans sold in MNsure (ie, not counting PreferredOne). Rates increased significantly in 2016 across the entire individual market in Minnesota — including plans sold through MNsure, the state-run exchange.Approved rates for 2016 were announced on October 1, 2015, ranging from about 15 percent for Medica to 49 percent for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota.

In general, the carriers cited higher-than-expected claims costs over the past year, along with the impending phase-out of the ACA’s reinsurance program as justification for their 2016 rate requests. But Governor Mark Dayton called some of the higher proposed increases “outrageous,” and promised a rigorous review of the filed rate changes and justifications. Ultimately, regulators were able to limit the highest rate increases to 49 percent — as opposed to the 54 percent that had been requested by Blue Plus and BCBS of MN — but the final weighted average rate increase in the individual market in Minnesota still ended up being the highest in the nation.

But Minnesota still had the lowest overall premiums in the upper midwest (although Minnesota had the highest average rate increase in the country for 2016, they had the lowest overall rates in the country in 2014 and 2015).Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman called the rate increases “unacceptably high,” and Gov. Dayton noted that he was “extremely unhappy” with the rate changes. But Rothman noted that his office “objected to all of the rates across the board,” and “squeezed out everything we could that was not actuarial justified.” In other words, the final rates, although much higher than officials and policyholders would have liked, were justified based on medical claims costs — the population enrolled in individual health plans in Minnesota was sicker than expected, and drug costs had been particularly onerous.Only about 55 percent of people who had 2015 coverage through MNsure received premium subsidies.

But due to the sharp premium increases, that had increased to about 63 percent for the people who had purchased or renewed coverage as of June 2016.2017. When the Minnesota Department of Commerce announced health insurance rates for 2017 for the individual and small group markets, the rate hikes were somewhat reasonable in the small group market (ranging from a decrease of 1 percent to an increase of 17.8 percent), but the individual market was “experiencing serious disruptions in 2017” and “on the verge of collapse.” The four carriers that offered plans through MNsure had the following average rate increases in 2017:Blue Plus = 55 percentHealthPartners/Group Health (GHI) = 50 percent (HealthPartners is only offering plans in 10 of the 67 counties where they offered plans in 2016. Their enrollment cap is 72,000 for 2017)Medica = 57.5 percent (enrollment cap is 50,000 for 2017)UCare = 66.8 percent (UCare capped enrollment at 30,000 for 2017, but only had 16,000 enrollees in 2016)The enrollment caps that HealthPartners, Medica, and UCare employed for 2017 were approved as part of the rate review process, and are designed to protect carriers from further financial losses as they absorb BCBSMN’s enrollees who are shopping for new coverage during open enrollment.In a news release relating to the rate announcement for 2017, the Minnesota Department of Commerce didn’t mince words.

They noted that the individual market in the state was on the brink of collapse, and that they did everything in their power to save the market. While they succeeded in keeping the state’s individual market viable for 2017, with only one carrier exiting (BCBSMN, although their HMO affiliate, Blue Plus, remained in the exchange), they reiterated very clearly that substantial reforms would be needed to keep the market stable in future years, and highlighted the fact that rates would be sharply higher and that carriers would limit enrollment in 2017.2018. Final rates for 2018 were approved in October 2017 (comprehensive information about the approved rates is here), based on the Minnesota Premium Security Plan (MSPS) being implemented but cost-sharing reductions (CSR) not being funded by the federal government (the cost of CSRs was added to on-exchange Silver plans).

Average approved rate changes for MNsure insurers ranged from a 13.3 percent decrease for UCare to a 2.8 percent increase for Blue Plus. Three of the four MNsure insurers decreased their average premiums for 2018.On September 21, MNsure had posted a notice indicating that if the reinsurance program were not approved, rates would be about 20 percent higher than they would otherwise be in 2018. Fortunately for Minnesota residents, the reinsurance program did receive federal approval, and average rates declined slightly for 2018.But some enrollees who don’t get ACA premium subsidies still experienced a rate increase, due to the termination of the one-year, state-funded 25 percent premium rebates at the end of 2017.PreferredOne, which exited MNsure at the end of 2014 and only offers coverage in the off-exchange market, proposed dramatically lower rates for 2018.

A 38 percent average decrease if MSPS were to be approved, and a 23 percent average decrease if not. The 38 percent decrease was implemented, and no adjustments were necessary to account for CSR funding, since PreferredOne does not offer plans in the exchange, and CSRs are only available on silver exchange plans.2019. Average premium decrease of 12.4 percent.

Average premiums dropped for all five insurers in the individual market in 2019. This was the second year in a row of declining rates in Minnesota, but Blue Plus had a small rate increase for 2018, so 2019 was the first year that all five insurers decreased their average rates. Minnesota insurance regulators noted that rates in 2019 were about 20 percent lower than they would have been without the reinsurance program.But most of Minnesota’s insurers charged higher rates in 2019 than they would have if the individual mandate penalty hadn’t been eliminated, and if access to short-term plans and association health plans hadn’t been expanded by the Trump administration.

For example, UCare’s rate filing notes that while average rates were decreasing by about 10 percent, the rate decrease would have been nearly 15 percent if the individual mandate penalty had remained in place.At ACA Signups, Charles Gaba calculated a weighted average rate decrease of 12.4 percent for 2019 in Minnesota, but noted that the average decrease would have been nearly 19 percent without those changes at the federal level.2020. Average premium decrease of 1 percent. Four of the five insurers (including PreferredOne, which only offers coverage off-exchange) in Minnesota’s individual market decreased their average premiums for 2020.

This was the third year in a row that average individual market premiums dropped in Minnesota’s individual market, due in large part to the reinsurance program that the state has established.The following average rate changes were implemented for 2020:Blue Plus. 1.5 percent decrease (Blue Plus had originally proposed a 4.8 percent increase)Group Health/Health Partners (GHI). 1.26 percent decrease (GHI had originally proposed a 2.1 percent increase)Medica.

1.01 percent decrease (Medica had originally proposed an average decrease of 1.4 percent)UCare. 0.18 percent increase (UCare originally proposed a 0.3 percent increase)PreferredOne, which only offers off-exchange coverage, reduced their rates by an average of 20 percent, on the heels of an 11 percent decrease in 2019. MNsure enrollment exceeded 116k in 2018, dropped to 113k for 2019, but grew to more than 1117k in 2020From 2014 through 2018, enrollment in MNsure’s individual market plans increased every year, reaching 116,358 people by 2018.

That was the highest open enrollment total in MNsure’s history, despite the shorter enrollment period, which ended in mid-January instead of the end of January (open enrollment for 2018 coverage ended on December 15, 2017 in states that use HealthCare.gov, but MNsure opted to extend their enrollment window that year, and have also extended subsequent enrollment windows).Enrollment dropped for the first time in 2019, when 113,552 people enrolled in individual market plans through MNsure. In most states that use HealthCare.gov, enrollment peaked in 2016 and has been dropping since then. But MNsure’s drop-off in 2019, which amounted to only a 2.4 percent reduction in enrollment, is the only time year-over-year enrollment has declined.

Notably, the ACA’s individual mandate penalty was eliminated as of 2019, and regulations that the Trump administration implemented in late 2018 now make it more feasible for healthy people to use short-term plans instead of ACA-compliant plans (Minnesota has its own rules for short-term plans, but they’re more relaxed than the Obama-era federal rules that applied in 2017 and most of 2018).And for 2020, enrollment grew again, reaching a record high of 117,520 enrollees.Here’s a look at the number of people who have signed up for individual market plans through MNsure during each year’s open enrollment period. These numbers all represent total enrollment at the end of open enrollment. Effectuated enrollment is always lower, and MNsure provides periodic effectuated enrollment data on their board meeting materials page.

Insurer participation in MNsure. 2014-20212014. Five insurers offered individual policies through MNsure for 2014.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, HealthPartners/Group Health, Medica, PreferredOne, and UCare. Kaiser Health News reported that Minnesota offered some of the lowest premiums for silver (mid-level) plans in the U.S. Four of Minnesota’s nine regions made Kaiser’s list of the 10 least expensive places to buy health insurance.2015.

But PreferredOne, which offered the lowest rates in the nation in 2014 and captured a large portion of 2014 enrollees, withdrew from MNsure for 2015. PreferredOne said remaining on the exchange was “not administratively and financially sustainable.” A Star Tribune business writer attributed PreferredOne’s departure as a market dynamics issue rather than a problem with MNsure.However, Blue Plus (an affiliate of Blue Cross Blue Shield of MN, offering HMO plans) joined the exchange for 2015, so there were still five insurers offering plans for 2015. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, Blue Plus, Health Partners/Group Health, Medica, and UCare.

MNsure offered 84 plans statewide, up from 78 for 2014.2016. BCBSMN, Blue Plus, Health Partners/Group Health, Medica, and UCare offered individual market plans through MNsure for 2016.2017. In an effort to recruit more carriers to offer plans through MNsure for 2017 — particularly outside the Twin Cities metro area — state regulators sent out a request for proposals from health insurers on August 15, 2016.

Regulators noted that insurers could propose waivers of regulations in order to make it feasible for them to offer coverage through MNsure, although any such waiver requests would have to be approved by regulators.Steven Parente, a health insurance expert at the University of Minnesota, called the state’s effort to recruit insurers to MNsure a “distress call” and noted that August 15 is awfully late in the year to be putting out a request for insurer participation, given that open enrollment begins November 1. And ultimately, no new insurers opted to join MNsure for 2017.Blue Cross Blue Shield of MN dropped their individual market PPO plans at the end of 2016 due to significant financial losses. That left Blue Plus (which offered HMOs and covered roughly 13,000 people in 2016 in the individual market) as the only BCBSMN affiliate in the exchange.

Roughly 103,000 people had to select new plans during open enrollment.Most of those BCBSMN enrollees had off-exchange coverage, though. There were only about 20,400 MNsure enrollees (a little more than one in five MNsure enrollees) with coverage under BCBSMN who needed to switch to another plan during open enrollment. BCBSMN had individual PPO options available in all 87 counties in Minnesota through MNsure in 2016, while the Blue Plus coverage area — comprised of four separate HMO networks — was available in 77 of the state’s counties.Nationwide, carriers have been shifting away from PPOs and towards HMOs and EPOs.

In Colorado, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield also dropped their PPOs at the end of 2016. In Indiana, there were no PPOs available in the individual market by 2017. Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico dropped all of their individual market plans at the end of 2015 except one off-exchange HMO.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas dropped their individual market PPO plans at the end of 2015.The broad network offered by PPOs tends to be attractive to enrollees who have health problems. They’re often willing to pay higher premiums in trade for access to broad network of hospitals and specialists. But PPOs are expensive for carriers, as enrollees don’t need primary care referrals to see specialists, and it’s more challenging for carriers to hold down costs when there are more providers in the network.All of the MNsure carriers except Blue Plus are also limiting their total enrollment for 2017.

By November 11, 2016, less than two weeks into open enrollment for 2017 coverage, Medica had hit their 50,000 member enrollment cap for 2017 (including on and off-exchange enrollments, and also accounting for expected renewals of 2016 Medica plans), and their policies were no longer available in the individual market in Minnesota, on or off-exchange. The only exception was five counties (Benton, Crow Wing, Mille Lacs, Morrison, and Stearns) where Medica agreed not to limit enrollment, as all of the other available carriers in those counties have imposed enrollment caps too. In those five counties, Medica plans continued to be available.At that point, Medica’s market share in MNsure for 2017 stood at 34.2 percent.

By December 14, Medica’s market share had dropped to 27.7 percent, as enrollments had continued to climb for the remaining carriers.On January 31, Medica re-opened enrollment for 2017. This was because a smaller-than-expected number of 2016 Medica enrollees renewed their plans for 2017, meaning that the carrier still had some wiggle room under their 50,000 member cap. At that point, they had room for about 7,000 more enrollees.

Medica plans were thus available throughout the duration of the special enrollment period that was added on at the end of open enrollment, and continue to be available for people with qualifying events.2018. Plans continued to be available from Blue Plus, Health Partners/Group Health (GHI), Medica, UCare. In the months before a decision was reached regarding an extension of the open enrollment window for 2018 plans (the first year that the federal government imposed a shorter, month-and-a-half enrollment window), two of MNsure’s participating insurers had differing positions.

UCare believed the exchange should add an additional two-week special enrollment period, while Medica did not want the exchange to have the option to extend the newly-scheduled six-week enrollment window. Notably, Medica capped their enrollment very early during the 2017 open enrollment period, and while UCare also had an enrollment cap, it was set with a target of nearly doubling their 2016 enrollment. But Medica is the only MNsure insurer that didn’t set an enrollment cap for 2018.As was the case for 2017, enrollment caps were used in the individual market in Minnesota for 2018 by all insurers other than Medica (Medica did have an enrollment cap for 2017, which they hit very early in open enrollment.

However, they resumed enrollments at the end of January 2017). Details about the insurers’ enrollment caps are in the plan binders in SERFF. For 2018, MNsure insurers implemented the following enrollment caps:Blue Plus.

55,000 member cap (aiming for a target of 50,000 effectuated enrollees, but effectuated enrollment is always lower than the number of people who initially enroll)Health Partners/Group Health (GHI). 73,400 member cap (aiming for a target of 70,000 effectuated enrollees)Medica. No enrollment capUCare.

35,000 member cap (aiming for a target of 30,000 effectuated enrollees)MNsure confirmed in May 2018 that none of their insurers had hit their enrollment caps for 2018.Outside the exchange, PreferredOne had an enrollment cap of 3,000 members, although their 2017 membership was only about 300 people.2019 and 2020. Blue Plus, Health Partners/Group Health, UCare, and Medica have continued to offer plans through MNsure, and all of them continued to participate in 2020 as well. Blue Plus expanded to once again offer statewide coverage in 2020, for the first time since 2016.2021.

Quartz joined the exchange for 2021, joining the four existing insurers. HealthPartners and UCare are both expanding their coverage areas for 2021.Minnesota Premium Security Plan. 1332 waiver proposal approved by CMS, but with a significant funding cut for MinnesotaCareIn May 2017, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton submitted a 1332 waiver proposal to CMS.

The 1332 waiver was based on H.F.5, which was enacted without Dayton’s signature in April 2017 (Dayton had proposed an alternative measure that would have allowed people in Minnesota to buy into MinnesotaCare. That measure was not able to pass the state’s Republican-dominated legislature).[For more than two decades, MinnesotaCare was a state program subsidizing health insurance for low-income residents. As of January 1, 2015, it transitioned to a Basic Health Program under the ACA, becoming the first BHP in the nation.]H.F.5 created the Minnesota Premium Security Plan (MPSP), which is a state-based reinsurance program (similar to the one the ACA implemented on a temporary basis through 2016, and that Alaska created for 2017.

Several other states have since implemented http://buyingtitles.co.uk/buying-titles-art/ reinsurance programs). The reinsurance program, which took effect in Minnesota in 2018, covers a portion of the claims that insurers face, resulting in lower total claims costs for the insurers, and thus lower premiums (average individual market premiums in Minnesota decreased from 2017 to 2018 as a result of the reinsurance program). The reinsurance kicks in once claims reach $50,000, and covers them at 80 percent up to $250,000 (this is similar to the coverage under the transitional reinsurance program that the ACA provided from 2014 through 2016).H.F.5 was contingent upon approval of the 1332 waiver, because it relies partially on federal funding, in addition to state funding.

Under the federal approval that was granted in September 2017, the federal government is giving Minnesota the money that they save on premium tax credits, and that money is combined with state funds to implement the reinsurance program (lower premiums — as a result of the reinsurance program — result in the federal government having to pay a smaller total amount of premium tax credits, since the tax credits are smaller when premiums are smaller).It was expected that CMS would approve the state’s 1332 waiver proposal, and Governor Dayton requested that the approval process be swift so that the state could move forward with the implementation of the Minnesota Premium Security Plan in time for the 2018 plan year. Dayton indicated that his office had been told that approval would come in August 2017, but CMS didn’t approve the waiver until September 22. And the waiver approval letter noted that the federal savings for MinnesotaCare (the state’s Basic Health Program, or BHP) resulting from the reinsurance program would not be eligible to be passed along to the state — in other words, CMS would keep those savings instead.[Federal BHP funding is equal to 95 percent of the amount that the federal government would have otherwise spent on premium subsidies and cost-sharing reductions for the population that ends up being eligible for the BHP.

So lower premiums — as a result of reinsurance — for qualified health plans in the exchange means that the amount the federal government would have had to spend on premium subsidies for that population is lower. That translates into a smaller amount of funding for the state’s BHP, according to the approach that HHS took for Minnesota’s waiver approval.]And based on the scathing letter that Dayton sent CMS a few days earlier, it appeared at that point that Minnesota could actually lose money on the deal — losing more in federal funding for MinnesotaCare than they gain in reinsurance funding. Dayton noted in his letter that the 1332 waiver approval process had been “nightmarish,” and that Minnesota went to great lengths to follow instructions from CMS at every turn, throughout the process of drafting H.F.5 and the 1332 waiver proposal.

He explains that CMS provided Minnesota with explicit guidance in terms of how to draft the reinsurance program while maintaining full federal funding for MinnesotaCare, and highlighted the fact that the state never deviated from the instructions that were provided.The StarTribune editorial board called out then-Secretary of HHS, Tom Price and the Trump Administration for their lack of clarity on the issue, for apparently misleading the state during the 1332 waiver drafting process, and for effectively punishing the state of Minnesota for taking an innovative approach to ensuring that as many people as possible have health insurance.Insurers filed rates based on reinsurance being available. And by the time the waiver was approved, there was very little time to evaluate the potential impacts of the funding changes, as rates had to be finalized by October 2 in Minnesota. The finalized rates did incorporate the reinsurance program.

The state has accepted the approved waiver, but Gov. Dayton sent a letter to HHS on October 3, asking them to reconsider the MinnesotaCare funding cuts, but the issue has remained unresolved.Elimination of CSR funding results in additional funding cut for MinnesotaCare, but a lawsuit has partially restored that fundingNationwide, 54 percent of exchange enrollees benefit from cost-sharing subsidies. But in Minnesota, only 13 percent of exchange enrollees are receiving cost-sharing subsidies.

This is because of MinnesotaCare, which covers all enrollees with income up to 200 percent of the poverty level. That’s the same group that would otherwise benefit the most from cost-sharing subsidies, so the fact that MinnesotaCare is available means that most of the people who would otherwise be enrolled in cost-sharing subsidy plans are instead enrolled in MinnesotaCare.At first glance, this would appear to have made the uncertainty surrounding cost-sharing subsidy funding in 2017 a little less of a pressing issue in Minnesota than it was in many other states, since private insurers weren’t facing the sort of losses that insurers in other states were facing without federal funding for CSR. But when the Trump Administration eliminated federal funding for CSR in October 2017, HHS took the position tha t since CSR funding had been eliminated, the CSR portion of the federal funding for the BHPs in New York and Minnesota would be reduced to $0.

This was not a cut-and-dried conclusion, however, as explained earlier in 2017 by Michael Kalina.In January 2018, the Attorneys General for New York and Minnesota filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Health and Human Services, seeking to restore funding for their Basic Health Programs. A judge ruled in favor of the states in May 2018, ensuring that MinnesotaCare would continue to receive at least some CSR-based funding. The amount awarded to the state for the first quarter of 2018 was just over half of what the state had initially expected in CSR-related funding, but a larger chuck of the funding was restored later in 2018.

According to the Star Tribune, however, Minnesota still ended up losing $161 million in federal funding for MinnesotaCare due to the CSR funding cuts.In early 2019, the Trump administration proposed yet another funding cut (a third, after the cuts imposed by the reinsurance program and the elimination of CSR funding) as part of a new methodology for calculating BHP funding. This one was much smaller than the other two cuts, but taken together the funding reductions are pushing MinnesotaCare towards a looming budget shortfall. SHOP exchange.

Down to one carrier as of 2016, zero by 2018 (and still zero in 2019)In 2015, there were two carriers in MNsure’s SHOP exchange for small businesses. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, and Medica. But Medica announced in 2015 that they would exit the SHOP exchange in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin at the end of the year.

That left BCBS as the only small group carrier available through MNsure in 2016, but it didn’t change much from a practical standpoint, since 83 percent of MNsure’s small groups were enrolled in plans through BCBS in 2015. Indeed, Medica’s reason for exiting the small business exchange was based on low enrollment in the first two years.Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota continued to be the only insurer offering SHOP coverage via MNsure in 2017, but announced in July 2017 that they would no longer offer SHOP coverage in 2018, and would instead transition their SHOP enrollees to small business coverage outside the exchange. At that point, there were only 3,287 people enrolled in SHOP coverage in Minnesota — far below the 155,000 people that were originally projected to have coverage through MNsure’s SHOP program by 2016 (this much lower-than-anticipated enrollment has been the case in nearly every state’s SHOP exchange.

This situation is not unique to Minnesota). State law provided 25% premium rebate in 2017. Amendment to allow plans without essential benefits was cut from final legislationThroughout 2016, then-Governor Dayton called for a state-funded premium rebate for people who buy their own insurance but aren’t eligible for the ACA’s premium subsidies (those are only available for people with income up to 400 percent of the poverty level, or $100,400 for a family of four in 2019).Governor Dayton also noted that the government needed to act quickly to stabilize the individual market in Minnesota, and by late November 2016, his patience with lawmakers was wearing thin.

In a November 23 press conference, Dayton said that House Republicans needed to “stop dilly-dallying” and decide whether to move forward with Dayton’s rebate proposal.Dayton had also indicated that he was considering calling a special session of the legislature after election day to address the situation, and that was being negotiated for December 20. But the talks fell through when Dayton and Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt couldn’t agree on the three bills that would have been addressed in the special session. As a result, there was no special session.Instead, the issue was taken up by lawmakers as soon as the 2017 legislative session began.

On January 5, Minnesota Senators Michelle Benson (R, 31st District) and Gary Dahms (R, 16th District) introduced S.F.1. The bill called for using $300 million in state funding to provide a 25 percent rebate to roughly 125,000 people in Minnesota.S.F.1 passed the Minnesota Senate by a 35-31 vote on January 12. Only one DFL Senator (Melisa Franzen, from Edina) voted with Republicans in favor of the legislation.

It was then sent to the House, where an amendment was added that stripped out the requirement that health plans provide various mandated benefits (see “Journal of the Day” section “Top of page 154” in this version of the bill. Under the terms of the amendment, as long as a carrier offered at least one plan with all the mandated benefits, they would have been allowed to offer others without mandated benefits).The amended bill was sent back to the Senate on January 23. Differences between the bills that the two chambers passed had to be reconciled before being sent to Governor Dayton for his signature.

By that point, the amendment to allow less-robust plans to be sold had garnered national attention, and public outrage helped to push lawmakers away from the provision. S.F.1 had also called for $150 million to be appropriated for fiscal year 2018 (through June 30, 2019) from the state general fund to a state-based reinsurance program to stabilize the individual market (Alaska did something similar in 2016, preventing a market collapse), but that provision was also removed in the final version (Minnesota did ultimately set up a reinsurance program, effective in 2018, which has served to stabilize the market and reduce premiums).A Conference Committee in the Senate recommended that the House “recede from its amendments” and the Conference Committee report passed the Senate on a 47-19 vote. The House passed the bill a few hours later, 108-19.

It was sent to Governor Dayton, who immediately signed it into law. DFLers did have to compromise on one issue during the process. S.F.1 allows for-profit HMOs to begin operating in Minnesota’s individual market, which had long been limited to non-profit HMOs.Consumers were told to expect the premium rebates to show up by April 2017, but they were retroactively effective to January 2017.

So a person who had been paying full price for a plan since January 2017 saw a substantial premium reduction on the April or May invoice. Going forward, for the remainder of the year, a 25 percent rebate applied each month.Since S.F.1 was signed into law with only a few days remaining in open enrollment (it ended January 31 that year), Governor Dayton and exchange officials were worried that there wouldn’t be enough time for people to learn about the rebate and apply for coverage before January 31. In December, Dayton had asked HHS to allow MNsure to extend its enrollment deadline to February 28 (instead of January 31) in order to allow lawmakers more time to work out the details of a state-based premium rebate while still allowing people to enroll after the legislative process is complete.HHS denied the request for a blanket extension, but MNsure used their own authority on January 28 to grant a one-week special enrollment period (February 1 to February 8) due to exceptional circumstances.

Although the state-based 25 percent premium rebate was available on or off the exchange, the one-week extension was only valid through MNsure. Health insurers did not have to accept off-exchange enrollments without a qualifying event after January 31.The 25 percent premium rebate program in Minnesota was only authorized for one year, so the rebates did not continue into 2018. And although almost 100,000 people received premium relief through the program in 2017, it ended up costing less than the legislature had allocated, and about $100 million was returned to the state’s budget at the end of 2017.Protecting Medicaid enrollees from estate liensIn every state, Medicaid is jointly funded by the state and the federal government.

Longstanding federal regulations, which predate the ACA, require states to “seek recovery of payments from the individual’s estate for nursing facility services, home and community-based services, and related hospital and prescription drug services” for any Medicaid enrollee over the age of 55. This applies essentially to long-term care services, but states also have the option to go after the individual’s estate to recover costs for other care that was provided by Medicaid after age 55.Prior to 2014, this wasn’t typically an issue, as Medicaid eligibility was generally restricted by asset tests or requirements that applicants be disabled or pregnant (although Minnesota did have much more generous Medicaid eligibility guidelines than most states prior to 2014). But as of 2014, in states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA, the only eligibility guideline is income.

Applicants with income that doesn’t exceed 138 percent of the poverty level are directed to Medicaid, regardless of any assets they might have.When applicants use the health insurance exchange — MNsure in Minnesota — they’re automatically funneled into Medical Assistance (Medicaid) if their income is under 138 percent of the poverty level. But what these enrollees didn’t know was that the state also had a program in place to put liens on estates for Medicaid-provided services for people age 55 and older.The combination of these systems caught numerous residents off guard. They were enrolled in Medical Assistance through MNsure based on their income, but were not aware that liens were being placed on their homes so that the state could recoup the costs upon their deaths.State Senator Tony Lourey (DFL, District 11) addressed the issue with language included in HF2749, the Omnibus supplemental budget bill, which was signed into law by Governor Dayton on June 1, 2016.

The legislation limits estate recovery to just what’s required under federal Medicaid rules (ie, essentially, long-term care costs for people age 55 or older), and makes the provision retroactive to January 1, 2014.Early tech strugglesMNsure opened for business in the fall of 2013, but technological issues persisted well into 2015, despite numerous improvements throughout 2014. Given MNsure’s difficult launch, the state conducted a series of audits and reviews. The first audit reviewed how MNsure spent state and federal money.

Auditors concluded that the exchange has generally adequate internal controls and found no fraud or abuse. The review was conducted by the state Office of the Legislative Auditor, and the report was published in October 2014.Another audit, also conducted by the Office of the Legislative Auditor and released in November 2014, found that the MNsure system in some cases incorrectly determined who qualified for public health benefits. The errors occurred during the first open enrollment period, before a series of system fixes were implemented.

The audit did not quantify the total financial impact of the errors. The state Human Services commissioner said a consultant working on technical fixes to MNsure concluded that the eligibility functionality was working correctly as of June 2014.A third audit, a performance evaluation report released in February 2015, said “MNsure’s failures outweighed its achievements.” Among other criticisms, auditors said MNsure staff withheld information from the board of directors and state officials, the enrollment website was seriously flawed and launched without adequate testing, and the first-year enrollment target was unrealistically low.In April 2014, MNsure hired Deloitte Consulting to audit MNsure’s technology and improve the website to make enrolling in coverage and updating life events easier and more streamlined. Deloitte has been involved in successful state-run marketplaces for Connecticut, Kentucky, Rhode Island and Washington.Software upgrades were installed in August 2014, and system testing continued right up until the start of open enrollment.

To reduce wait times for consumers and insurance professionals, MNsure increased its call center and support staff and launched a dedicated service line for agents and brokers.More in-person assisters were available in Minnesota for the 2015 open enrollment period. MNsure encourages residents to utilize the exchange’s assister directory to find local navigators and brokers who can help with the enrollment process.MNsure has improved dramatically in terms of its technology since the early days of ACA implementation, and enrollment increased every year from 2014 through 2019.Lawmakers approved switching to HealthCare.gov as of 2019, but governor vetoedOn May 9, 2017, lawmakers in Minnesota passed SF800, an omnibus health and human services bill. Among many other things, the legislation called for switching from MNsure to the federally-run marketplace (HealthCare.gov) starting in 2019 (see Section 5).

But Governor Dayton vetoed it.Gov. Dayton has long been supportive of MNsure, and had previously clarified that he would veto the bill. In noting his plans to veto the legislation, Dayton made no mention of the transition to HealthCare.gov that was included in the legislation, but focused instead on the sharp budget cuts in the bill.

But his veto ensured that MNsure would remain in place, at least for the time being.The Senate’s original version of SF800 did not call for scrapping MNsure, but the bill went through considerable back-and-forth between the two chambers, and the version that passed was the 4th engrossment of the bill.In March 2015, Dayton had asked the legislature to create a Task Force on Health Care Financing that would study MNsure along with possible future alternatives. Dayton noted in his letter that he supported making MNsure “directly accountable to the governor and subject to the same legislative oversight as other state agencies” and his budget included half a million dollars devoted to the task force. The spending bill was approved by the legislature in May, and the 29-member task force was appointed in the summer.One of the possibilities that the task force considered was the possibility of switching to Healthcare.gov, but it’s clear that there was no cut-and-dried answer to the question of whether Minnesota is better served by having a state-run exchange, switching to a federally-run exchange, or teaming up with the federal government on either a supported state-based marketplace or partnership exchange.In a December 2015 meeting of the task force, the MN Department of Human Services presented a financial analysis of the alternatives available to MNsure.

They determined that switching entirely to Healthcare.gov would cost the state an additional $5.1 million in one-time costs from June 2016 to June 2017. And switching to a supported state-based marketplace would cost an additional $6.6 million during that same time frame. If the state had opted to switch to Healthcare.gov, the soonest it could have happened was 2018, since HHS requires a year’s notice from states wishing to transition to Healthcare.gov, and Minnesota wouldn’t have been in a position to make a decision until sometime in 2016.There were significant reservations about making that switch prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling on King v.

Burwell. The Court ruled in June 2015 that subsidies are legal in every state, including those that use Healthcare.gov. Prior to the decision, a switch to Healthcare.gov could have jeopardized subsidies for tens of thousands of Minnesota residents.

But once it was clear that Healthcare.gov’s subsidies are safe, some stakeholders began calling for Minnesota to scrap its state-run exchange and use Healthcare.gov instead. Because the MNsure task force was included in the 2016 budget, no hasty decisions were made.In January 2016, the task force submitted their recommendations to the legislature. They covered a broad range of issues, but did not recommend that MNsure transition to the federal enrollment platform.

Lawmakers essentially left the exchange alone during the 2016 legislative session.The magnitude of the 2016 rate increases that were announced in October resulted in MNsure opponents renewing their calls to switch to Healthcare.gov. But it’s important to keep in mind that the 41 percent weighted average rate hike in Minnesota was market-wide, and did not just apply to MNsure enrollees. In fact, the off-exchange carrier (PreferredOne) had among the highest rate hikes in the state for 2016, at 39 percent, and the exchange’s weighted average rate increase (38.5 percent) was lower than the weighted average rate increase for the whole individual market (41 percent).Minnesota health insurance exchange linksMNsure855-3MNSURE (855-366-7873)State Exchange Profile.

MinnesotaThe Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation overview of Minnesota’s progress toward creating a state health insurance exchange.Louise Norris is an individual health insurance broker who has been writing about health insurance and health reform since 2006. She has written dozens of opinions and educational pieces about the Affordable Care Act for healthinsurance.org.

Her state health exchange updates are regularly cited by media who cover health reform and by other health insurance experts.Key takeaways Medicaid expansion in HawaiiHawaii adopted Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act, extending eligibility for Medicaid to adults with income up to 133 percent of the poverty level (138 percent with the automatic 5 percent income disregard). Medicaid expansion took effect in January 2014.According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 70,000 Hawaii residents were uninsured in 2015. With Medicaid expansion now covering low-income, nonelderly adults, 50 percent of Hawaii’s remaining uninsured population at that point was eligible for Medicaid – although they may not realize that they’re eligible.

According to U.S. Census data, only 3.5 percent of Hawaii residents were uninsured as of 2016, down from 6.7 percent in 2013. Although the state’s uninsured rate was reduced by nearly half from 2013 to 2016, it was already less than half of the national average uninsured rate even in 2013, before the bulk of the ACA’s provisions had taken effect.

Hawaii’s Prepaid Health Care Act, which has been in place since the 1970s, had already resulted in nearly all of the state’s population having insurance coverage, even before the ACA took effect. However, with the hypertension outbreak, job losses and the subsequent loss of employer-provided insurance have contributed to a jump in the uninsured rate across the U.S. As of May 2020, Hawaii’s uninsured rate was 10 percent.Medicaid expansion helped cement top-ranking health scores Federalpoverty levelcalculator 0.0% of Federal Poverty Level Hawaii has a long history of supporting initiatives to make health insurance broadly available to residents.

Hawaii was among the first six states that implemented a Medicaid program in January 1966, just six months after federal legislation authorizing the program was enacted. In 1974, Hawaii implemented its Prepaid Health Care Act, which mandated that most employers make health insurance available to employees who work at least 20 hours a week.In conjunction with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Hawaii initially implemented a state-run health insurance marketplace and adopted Medicaid expansion. The marketplace transitioned to a federally-supported state-run marketplace for 2016, and transitioned again to a fully federally-run exchange for 2017, largely in an effort to take advantage of the economies of scale that the federally-run exchange could bring to a state with low overall enrollment in the individual market (because of Hawaii’s Prepaid Health Care Act, nearly all non-elderly Hawaii residents get coverage from an employer, and relatively few need coverage under individual market plans).

Nothing changed about Medicaid with the switch to Healthcare.gov though. The expanded Medicaid eligibility guidelines are still in effect in Hawaii.Through its efforts, Hawaii consistently has low uninsured rates and high overall health scores. As of 2015, Hawaii was ranked the healthiest state in the nation according to the Gallup Healthways Physical Wellbeing Index, and the state consistently scores near the top in other ranking systems (number 2 the America’s Health Rankings 2017 survey, and number 3 in the Commonwealth Fund’s 2017 Scorecard on State Health System Performance).Who is eligible for Medicaid in Hawaii?.

Hawaii’s Medicaid eligibility levels for children are much higher than the national average and about average for pregnant women and parents.Children ages 0-18 qualify with family income levels up to 308 of the federal poverty level (FPL)Pregnant women qualify with family income up to 191 percent of FPLParents and other adults qualify with family income up to 138 percent of FPLHawaii also uses Medicaid funds to help cover premium costs for Hawaii residents who aren’t U.S. Citizens but who are citizens of nations that have entered into the Compact of Free Association (COFA) with the U.S.How do I enroll in Medicaid in Hawaii?. Hawaii’s Medicaid program is called MED-QUEST (MQD).

QUEST stands for Quality care, Universal access, Efficient utilization, Stabilizing costs, and Transforming the way health care is provided to recipients.You can apply for MED-QUEST. Hawaii Medicaid enrollment numbersMore than 351,000 people were enrolled in Hawaii’s Medicaid and CHIP programs as of June 2020. This figure is a 22% increase over 2013 (pre-ACA) enrollment, when about 288,000 people were enrolled.

Accordingly to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 107,300 of those enrolled in Hawaii Medicaid are part of the ACA-authorized expansion as of June 2019.Hawaii Medicaid historyHawaii implemented its Medicaid program in January 1966.In the early 1990s, Hawaii implemented the State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) to cover people who weren’t eligible for Medicaid. Then, in 1994, CMS approved Hawaii’s section 1115 Medicaid waiver (one of the first in the nation) to wrap SHIP in with Medicaid in an effort to achieve universal insurance coverage (in combination with the state’s Prepaid Health Care Act). The result of the waiver was the creation of Hawaii’s MED-QUEST program, which initially covered low-income women and children, but has since expanded (as of 2009) to cover nearly all of Hawaii’s Medicaid beneficiaries.

The MED-QUEST waiver is subject to renewal every five years.Medicaid in Hawaii is separated into two different methods of providing services. The fee-for-service (FFS) program and the managed care program, called MED-QUEST or MQD. Under the FFS program, doctors and other healthcare providers bill Medicaid directly to be reimbursed for services provided to Medicaid beneficiaries.

Under MED-QUEST, the state contracts with managed care plans who in turn provide healthcare services to Medicaid beneficiaries.As of 2011, more than 98 percent of the people enrolled in Hawaii’s Medicaid program were covered through managed care. By March 2015, Kaiser Family Foundation reported that 335,007 Medicaid enrollees in Hawaii were covered under managed care programs. That’s higher than the August 2015 total Medicaid/CHIP enrollment count, but KFF notes that the managed care number includes people who are covered under Hawaii’s fully-state-funded Medicaid program, in addition to the majority of enrollees who are in regular Medicaid that’s funded partially by the state and partially by the federal government.In August 2017, Hawaii submitted a waiver amendment to CMS in order to gain federal approval to use Medicaid funding to provide housing services to qualified Medicaid enrollees who are homeless and also have behavioral health and/or substance abuse problems.

That waiver request was still pending as of February 2018.Louise Norris is an individual health insurance broker who has been writing about health insurance and health reform since 2006. She has written dozens of opinions and educational pieces about the Affordable Care Act for healthinsurance.org. Her state health exchange updates are regularly cited by media who cover health reform and by other health insurance experts..

Minnesota marketplace he has a good point highlights buy lasix with free samples and updatesOpen enrollment for 2021 health plans. November 1, 2020 buy lasix with free samples through December 22, 2020. Residents with qualifying events can still enroll or make changes to their 2020 coverage.Insurers implementing modest rate increases for 2021, after three straight years of average rate decreases. Quartz has joined the exchange for 2021, bringing total number of insurers to five.117,520 people enrolled for buy lasix with free samples 2020, a new record for MNsure.Insurer participation in MNsure.

2014 to 2021.Reinsurance program received federal approval, began operation in 2018.With reinsurance, rates decreased for 2018 and again, even more significantly, for 2019. But reinsurance also reduced funding for MinnesotaCare.The elimination of CSR funding further reduced MinnesotaCare funding, but this has been partly restored by a court ruling.MN provided premium relief for non-subsidy-eligible enrollees for 2017 only.Governor vetoed a proposed 2019 switch to HealthCare.gov.MNsure’s small business exchange no longer has any participating insurers.Minnesota health exchange buy lasix with free samples overviewMinnesota’s one of the states fighting the hardest to preserve the Affordable Care Act’s gains. See actions Minnesota has taken.Minnesota’s state-run exchange, MNsure, has five participating insurers for 2021, up from four in 2020. The exchange has more than 117,000 individual market enrollees as of 2020.As a result of the hypertension medications lasix, MNsure joined most of the other state-run exchanges in offering a special enrollment period during which people who were uninsured could enroll in buy lasix with free samples a health plan.

MNsure’s special enrollment period began March 23, and continued through April 21. Nearly 9,500 Minnesota residents enrolled in private plans through MNsure during this window, as well as another 13,700 who enrolled in MinnesotaCare or Medicaid (enrollment in those programs is open year-round for eligible residents).Allison O’Toole, who led MNsure as CEO for three years, announced her resignation in March 2018, and the exchange named buy lasix with free samples Nate Clark, the MNsure COO, as acting CEO. A few months later, the MNsure board named Clark as the permanent CEO. O’Toole left MNsure to work as director of state affairs for United States of Care, a non-profit created by Andy Slavitt, who was the acting administrator of CMS under the Obama Administration.Throughout 2017, Minnesotans who bought their own health insurance (on or off-exchange) and weren’t eligible for ACA subsidies were provided with 25 percent premium buy lasix with free samples rebates from the state as a result of S.F.1, signed into law by Governor Dayton in early 2017.

The subsidies helped to offset the large premium increases that applied in Minnesota in 2017, and helped to stabilize the individual health insurance market in 2017. But the premium rebate program expired at the end of 2017.Thanks in large part to the new reinsurance program that Minnesota created (details below), premiums decreased in Minnesota’s individual market in buy lasix with free samples 2018, 2019, and again in 2020, although rates are increasing modestly for 2021. In May 2019, Minnesota leaders reached an agreement on a budget that included an extension of the reinsurance program through 2020 and 2021 (it has already been granted federal approval through the end of 2022, but the state has to continue to cover its share of the cost. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz had hoped to implement a premium subsidy program and a new tax credit in Minnesota buy lasix with free samples starting in 2020.

But a compromise in the budget ended up with the state opting to continue the existing reinsurance program for two more years instead.).But the waiver that provides federal pass-through funding for reinsurance also resulted in a sharp and unexpected decrease in federal funding for MinnesotaCare, the Basic Health Program that provides coverage for people with income between 138 percent and 200 percent of the poverty level (between $16,642 and $24,120 for a single person).In addition, the elimination of federal funding for cost-sharing reductions (CSR) in October 2018 resulted in a funding cut for MinnesotaCare, since the program is funded in large part by federal funds that would otherwise have been used to pay for premium subsidies and cost-sharing reductions in the exchange for the population that is instead eligible for MinnesotaCare. After an ensuing legal battle, a judge ordered HHS to restore funding for MinnesotaCare, although a resolution of the situation is ongoing, and the amount that HHS agreed to pay was still less than MinnesotaCare would have received if CSR funding had continued.Open enrollment for 2021 health plans buy lasix with free samples extended through December 22, 2020. Insurers implementing modest rate increases for 2021, after three years of overall rate decreasesMNsure enabled window shopping for 2021 health plans as of October 12, 2020. This gives residents a few weeks to browse the available buy lasix with free samples plans before open enrollment starts on November 1, 2020.

And MNsure has announced that open enrollment will continue through December 22, 2020. That’s a week longer than the open enrollment period that buy lasix with free samples will apply in states that use the federally-run exchange. The flexibility to extend open enrollment is often cited as one of the benefits of having a fully state-run exchange. (MNsure had a similar extension last December, for 2020 health plans).For 2021, Quartz is joining the Minnesota buy lasix with free samples marketplace.

Quartz currently offers plans in Illinois and Wisconsin, and is expanding into Minnesota for 2021. And two of the existing insurers — HealthPartners and UCare — are expanding their coverage areas for 2021 (BluePlus and Medica offer coverage statewide, and will continue to do so buy lasix with free samples in 2021).The following average rate changes have been approved for MNsure’s insurers:Blue Plus. 4.21 percent increase (down from an initially proposed 7.12 percent increase)Group Health/Health Partners (GHI) buy lasix with free samples. 0.67 percent increase (down from an initially proposed 4.15 percent increase)Medica.

2.42 percent buy lasix with free samples increase (down from an initially proposed 7.06 percent increase)UCare. 1.6 percent increase (up from an initially proposed 1.39 percent decrease)Quartz. New for 2021, so no applicable buy lasix with free samples rate changePreferredOne Insurance Company, which offers plans outside the exchange, is increasing premiums by 1.05 percent (down from an initially proposed average increase of 5.09 percent). Rate changes in previous years2015.

Average increase buy lasix with free samples of 4.5 percent. MNsure critics characterized the official announcement as misleading as it failed to take into account low-cost 2014 plans from PreferredOne. Consumers who bought a PreferredOne plan through MNsure for 2014 could only renew buy lasix with free samples their policies for 2015 by working directly with the insurer, since PreferredOne stopped offering plans in the exchange at the end of 2014. However, PreferredOne rates went up an average of 63 percent, and consumers didn’t qualify for subsidies if they shopped outside the exchange.

2016. Average increase of 41.4 percent for the individual market, and about 38.5 for plans sold in MNsure (ie, not counting PreferredOne). Rates increased significantly in 2016 across the entire individual market in Minnesota — including plans sold through MNsure, the state-run exchange.Approved rates for 2016 were announced on October 1, 2015, ranging from about 15 percent for Medica to 49 percent for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. In general, the carriers cited higher-than-expected claims costs over the past year, along with the impending phase-out of the ACA’s reinsurance program as justification for their 2016 rate requests.

But Governor Mark Dayton called some of the higher proposed increases “outrageous,” and promised a rigorous review of the filed rate changes and justifications. Ultimately, regulators were able to limit the highest rate increases to 49 percent — as opposed to the 54 percent that had been requested by Blue Plus and BCBS of MN — but the final weighted average rate increase in the individual market in Minnesota still ended up being the highest in the nation. But Minnesota still had the lowest overall premiums in the upper midwest (although Minnesota had the highest average rate increase in the country for 2016, they had the lowest overall rates in the country in 2014 and 2015).Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman called the rate increases “unacceptably high,” and Gov. Dayton noted that he was “extremely unhappy” with the rate changes.

But Rothman noted that his office “objected to all of the rates across the board,” and “squeezed out everything we could that was not actuarial justified.” In other words, the final rates, although much higher than officials and policyholders would have liked, were justified based on medical claims costs — the population enrolled in individual health plans in Minnesota was sicker than expected, and drug costs had been particularly onerous.Only about 55 percent of people who had 2015 coverage through MNsure received premium subsidies. But due to the sharp premium increases, that had increased to about 63 percent for the people who had purchased or renewed coverage as of June 2016.2017. When the Minnesota Department of Commerce announced health insurance rates for 2017 for the individual and small group markets, the rate hikes were somewhat reasonable in the small group market (ranging from a decrease of 1 percent to an increase of 17.8 percent), but the individual market was “experiencing serious disruptions in 2017” and “on the verge of collapse.” The four carriers that offered plans through MNsure had the following average rate increases in 2017:Blue Plus = 55 percentHealthPartners/Group Health (GHI) = 50 percent (HealthPartners is only offering plans in 10 of the 67 counties where they offered plans in 2016. Their enrollment cap is 72,000 for 2017)Medica = 57.5 percent (enrollment cap is 50,000 for 2017)UCare = 66.8 percent (UCare capped enrollment at 30,000 for 2017, but only had 16,000 enrollees in 2016)The enrollment caps that HealthPartners, Medica, and UCare employed for 2017 were approved as part of the rate review process, and are designed to protect carriers from further financial losses as they absorb BCBSMN’s enrollees who are shopping for new coverage during open enrollment.In a news release relating to the rate announcement for 2017, the Minnesota Department of Commerce didn’t mince words.

They noted that the individual market in the state was on the brink of collapse, and that they did everything in their power to save the market. While they succeeded in keeping the state’s individual market viable for 2017, with only one carrier exiting (BCBSMN, although their HMO affiliate, Blue Plus, remained in the exchange), they reiterated very clearly that substantial reforms would be needed to keep the market stable in future years, and highlighted the fact that rates would be sharply higher and that carriers would limit enrollment in 2017.2018. Final rates for 2018 were approved in October 2017 (comprehensive information about the approved rates is here), based on the Minnesota Premium Security Plan (MSPS) being implemented but cost-sharing reductions (CSR) not being funded by the federal government (the cost of CSRs was added to on-exchange Silver plans). Average approved rate changes for MNsure insurers ranged from a 13.3 percent decrease for UCare to a 2.8 percent increase for Blue Plus.

Three of the four MNsure insurers decreased their average premiums for 2018.On September 21, MNsure had posted a notice indicating that if the reinsurance program were not approved, rates would be about 20 percent higher than they would otherwise be in 2018. Fortunately for Minnesota residents, the reinsurance program did receive federal approval, and average rates declined slightly for 2018.But some enrollees who don’t get ACA premium subsidies still experienced a rate increase, due to the termination of the one-year, state-funded 25 percent premium rebates at the end of 2017.PreferredOne, which exited MNsure at the end of 2014 and only offers coverage in the off-exchange market, proposed dramatically lower rates for 2018. A 38 percent average decrease if MSPS were to be approved, and a 23 percent average decrease if not. The 38 percent decrease was implemented, and no adjustments were necessary to account for CSR funding, since PreferredOne does not offer plans in the exchange, and CSRs are only available on silver exchange plans.2019.

Average premium decrease of 12.4 percent. Average premiums dropped for all five insurers in the individual market in 2019. This was the second year in a row of declining rates in Minnesota, but Blue Plus had a small rate increase for 2018, so 2019 was the first year that all five insurers decreased their average rates. Minnesota insurance regulators noted that rates in 2019 were about 20 percent lower than they would have been without the reinsurance program.But most of Minnesota’s insurers charged higher rates in 2019 than they would have if the individual mandate penalty hadn’t been eliminated, and if access to short-term plans and association health plans hadn’t been expanded by the Trump administration.

For example, UCare’s rate filing notes that while average rates were decreasing by about 10 percent, the rate decrease would have been nearly 15 percent if the individual mandate penalty had remained in place.At ACA Signups, Charles Gaba calculated a weighted average rate decrease of 12.4 percent for 2019 in Minnesota, but noted that the average decrease would have been nearly 19 percent without those changes at the federal level.2020. Average premium decrease of 1 percent. Four of the five insurers (including PreferredOne, which only offers coverage off-exchange) in Minnesota’s individual market decreased their average premiums for 2020. This was the third year in a row that average individual market premiums dropped in Minnesota’s individual market, due in large part to the reinsurance program that the state has established.The following average rate changes were implemented for 2020:Blue Plus.

1.5 percent decrease (Blue Plus had originally proposed a 4.8 percent increase)Group Health/Health Partners (GHI). 1.26 percent decrease (GHI had originally proposed a 2.1 percent increase)Medica. 1.01 percent decrease (Medica had originally proposed an average decrease of 1.4 percent)UCare. 0.18 percent increase (UCare originally proposed a 0.3 percent increase)PreferredOne, which only offers off-exchange coverage, reduced their rates by an average of 20 percent, on the heels of an 11 percent decrease in 2019.

MNsure enrollment exceeded 116k in 2018, dropped to 113k for 2019, but grew to more than 1117k in 2020From 2014 through 2018, enrollment in MNsure’s individual market plans increased every year, reaching 116,358 people by 2018. That was the highest open enrollment total in MNsure’s history, despite the shorter enrollment period, which ended in mid-January instead of the end of January (open enrollment for 2018 coverage ended on December 15, 2017 in states that use HealthCare.gov, but MNsure opted to extend their enrollment window that year, and have also extended subsequent enrollment windows).Enrollment dropped for the first time in 2019, when 113,552 people enrolled in individual market plans through MNsure. In most states that use HealthCare.gov, enrollment peaked in 2016 and has been dropping since then. But MNsure’s drop-off in 2019, which amounted to only a 2.4 percent reduction in enrollment, is the only time year-over-year enrollment has declined.

Notably, the ACA’s individual mandate penalty was eliminated as of 2019, and regulations that the Trump administration implemented in late 2018 now make it more feasible for healthy people to use short-term plans instead of ACA-compliant plans (Minnesota has its own rules for short-term plans, but they’re more relaxed than the Obama-era federal rules that applied in 2017 and most of 2018).And for 2020, enrollment grew again, reaching a record high of 117,520 enrollees.Here’s a look at the number of people who have signed up for individual market plans through MNsure during each year’s open enrollment period. These numbers all represent total enrollment at the end of open enrollment. Effectuated enrollment is always lower, and MNsure provides periodic effectuated enrollment data on their board meeting materials page. Insurer participation in MNsure.

2014-20212014. Five insurers offered individual policies through MNsure for 2014. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, HealthPartners/Group Health, Medica, PreferredOne, and UCare. Kaiser Health News reported that Minnesota offered some of the lowest premiums for silver (mid-level) plans in the U.S.

Four of Minnesota’s nine regions made Kaiser’s list of the 10 least expensive places to buy health insurance.2015. But PreferredOne, which offered the lowest rates in the nation in 2014 and captured a large portion of 2014 enrollees, withdrew from MNsure for 2015. PreferredOne said remaining on the exchange was “not administratively and financially sustainable.” A Star Tribune business writer attributed PreferredOne’s departure as a market dynamics issue rather than a problem with MNsure.However, Blue Plus (an affiliate of Blue Cross Blue Shield of MN, offering HMO plans) joined the exchange for 2015, so there were still five insurers offering plans for 2015. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, Blue Plus, Health Partners/Group Health, Medica, and UCare.

MNsure offered 84 plans statewide, up from 78 for 2014.2016. BCBSMN, Blue Plus, Health Partners/Group Health, Medica, and UCare offered individual market plans through MNsure for 2016.2017. In an effort to recruit more carriers to offer plans through MNsure for 2017 — particularly outside the Twin Cities metro area — state regulators sent out a request for proposals from health insurers on August 15, 2016. Regulators noted that insurers could propose waivers of regulations in order to make it feasible for them to offer coverage through MNsure, although any such waiver requests would have to be approved by regulators.Steven Parente, a health insurance expert at the University of Minnesota, called the state’s effort to recruit insurers to MNsure a “distress call” and noted that August 15 is awfully late in the year to be putting out a request for insurer participation, given that open enrollment begins November 1.

And ultimately, no new insurers opted to join MNsure for 2017.Blue Cross Blue Shield of MN dropped their individual market PPO plans at the end of 2016 due to significant financial losses. That left Blue Plus (which offered HMOs and covered roughly 13,000 people in 2016 in the individual market) as the only BCBSMN affiliate in the exchange. Roughly 103,000 people had to select new plans during open enrollment.Most of those BCBSMN enrollees had off-exchange coverage, though. There were only about 20,400 MNsure enrollees (a little more than one in five MNsure enrollees) with coverage under BCBSMN who needed to switch to another plan during open enrollment.

BCBSMN had individual PPO options available in all 87 counties in Minnesota through MNsure in 2016, while the Blue Plus coverage area — comprised of four separate HMO networks — was available in 77 of the state’s counties.Nationwide, carriers have been shifting away from PPOs and towards HMOs and EPOs. In Colorado, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield also dropped their PPOs at the end of 2016. In Indiana, there were no PPOs available in the individual market by 2017. Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico dropped all of their individual market plans at the end of 2015 except one off-exchange HMO.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas dropped their individual market PPO plans at the end of 2015.The broad network offered by PPOs tends to be attractive to enrollees who have health problems. They’re often willing to pay higher premiums in trade for access to broad network of hospitals and specialists. But PPOs are expensive for carriers, as enrollees don’t need primary care referrals to see specialists, and it’s more challenging for carriers to hold down costs when there are more providers in the network.All of the MNsure carriers except Blue Plus are also limiting their total enrollment for 2017. By November 11, 2016, less than two weeks into open enrollment for 2017 coverage, Medica had hit their 50,000 member enrollment cap for 2017 (including on and off-exchange enrollments, and also accounting for expected renewals of 2016 Medica plans), and their policies were no longer available in the individual market in Minnesota, on or off-exchange.

The only exception was five counties (Benton, Crow Wing, Mille Lacs, Morrison, and Stearns) where Medica agreed not to limit enrollment, as all of the other available carriers in those counties have imposed enrollment caps too. In those five counties, Medica plans continued to be available.At that point, Medica’s market share in MNsure for 2017 stood at 34.2 percent. By December 14, Medica’s market share had dropped to 27.7 percent, as enrollments had continued to climb for the remaining carriers.On January 31, Medica re-opened enrollment for 2017. This was because a smaller-than-expected number of 2016 Medica enrollees renewed their plans for 2017, meaning that the carrier still had some wiggle room under their 50,000 member cap.

At that point, they had room for about 7,000 more enrollees. Medica plans were thus available throughout the duration of the special enrollment period that was added on at the end of open enrollment, and continue to be available for people with qualifying events.2018. Plans continued to be available from Blue Plus, Health Partners/Group Health (GHI), Medica, UCare. In the months before a decision was reached regarding an extension of the open enrollment window for 2018 plans (the first year that the federal government imposed a shorter, month-and-a-half enrollment window), two of MNsure’s participating insurers had differing positions.

UCare believed the exchange should add an additional two-week special enrollment period, while Medica did not want the exchange to have the option to extend the newly-scheduled six-week enrollment window. Notably, Medica capped their enrollment very early during the 2017 open enrollment period, and while UCare also had an enrollment cap, it was set with a target of nearly doubling their 2016 enrollment. But Medica is the only MNsure insurer that didn’t set an enrollment cap for 2018.As was the case for 2017, enrollment caps were used in the individual market in Minnesota for 2018 by all insurers other than Medica (Medica did have an enrollment cap for 2017, which they hit very early in open enrollment. However, they resumed enrollments at the end of January 2017).

Details about the insurers’ enrollment caps are in the plan binders in SERFF. For 2018, MNsure insurers implemented the following enrollment caps:Blue Plus. 55,000 member cap (aiming for a target of 50,000 effectuated enrollees, but effectuated enrollment is always lower than the number of people who initially enroll)Health Partners/Group Health (GHI). 73,400 member cap (aiming for a target of 70,000 effectuated enrollees)Medica.

No enrollment capUCare. 35,000 member cap (aiming for a target of 30,000 effectuated enrollees)MNsure confirmed in May 2018 that none of their insurers had hit their enrollment caps for 2018.Outside the exchange, PreferredOne had an enrollment cap of 3,000 members, although their 2017 membership was only about 300 people.2019 and 2020. Blue Plus, Health Partners/Group Health, UCare, and Medica have continued to offer plans through MNsure, and all of them continued to participate in 2020 as well. Blue Plus expanded to once again offer statewide coverage in 2020, for the first time since 2016.2021.

Quartz joined the exchange for 2021, joining the four existing insurers. HealthPartners and UCare are both expanding their coverage areas for 2021.Minnesota Premium Security Plan. 1332 waiver proposal approved by CMS, but with a significant funding cut for MinnesotaCareIn May 2017, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton submitted a 1332 waiver proposal to CMS. The 1332 waiver was based on H.F.5, which was enacted without Dayton’s signature in April 2017 (Dayton had proposed an alternative measure that would have allowed people in Minnesota to buy into MinnesotaCare.

That measure was not able to pass the state’s Republican-dominated legislature).[For more than two decades, MinnesotaCare was a state program subsidizing health insurance for low-income residents. As of January 1, 2015, it transitioned to a Basic Health Program under the ACA, becoming the first BHP in the nation.]H.F.5 created the Minnesota Premium Security Plan (MPSP), which is a state-based reinsurance program (similar to the one the ACA implemented on a temporary basis through 2016, and that Alaska created for 2017. Several other states have a peek at this website have since implemented reinsurance programs). The reinsurance program, which took effect in Minnesota in 2018, covers a portion of the claims that insurers face, resulting in lower total claims costs for the insurers, and thus lower premiums (average individual market premiums in Minnesota decreased from 2017 to 2018 as a result of the reinsurance program).

The reinsurance kicks in once claims reach $50,000, and covers them at 80 percent up to $250,000 (this is similar to the coverage under the transitional reinsurance program that the ACA provided from 2014 through 2016).H.F.5 was contingent upon approval of the 1332 waiver, because it relies partially on federal funding, in addition to state funding. Under the federal approval that was granted in September 2017, the federal government is giving Minnesota the money that they save on premium tax credits, and that money is combined with state funds to implement the reinsurance program (lower premiums — as a result of the reinsurance program — result in the federal government having to pay a smaller total amount of premium tax credits, since the tax credits are smaller when premiums are smaller).It was expected that CMS would approve the state’s 1332 waiver proposal, and Governor Dayton requested that the approval process be swift so that the state could move forward with the implementation of the Minnesota Premium Security Plan in time for the 2018 plan year. Dayton indicated that his office had been told that approval would come in August 2017, but CMS didn’t approve the waiver until September 22. And the waiver approval letter noted that the federal savings for MinnesotaCare (the state’s Basic Health Program, or BHP) resulting from the reinsurance program would not be eligible to be passed along to the state — in other words, CMS would keep those savings instead.[Federal BHP funding is equal to 95 percent of the amount that the federal government would have otherwise spent on premium subsidies and cost-sharing reductions for the population that ends up being eligible for the BHP.

So lower premiums — as a result of reinsurance — for qualified health plans in the exchange means that the amount the federal government would have had to spend on premium subsidies for that population is lower. That translates into a smaller amount of funding for the state’s BHP, according to the approach that HHS took for Minnesota’s waiver approval.]And based on the scathing letter that Dayton sent CMS a few days earlier, it appeared at that point that Minnesota could actually lose money on the deal — losing more in federal funding for MinnesotaCare than they gain in reinsurance funding. Dayton noted in his letter that the 1332 waiver approval process had been “nightmarish,” and that Minnesota went to great lengths to follow instructions from CMS at every turn, throughout the process of drafting H.F.5 and the 1332 waiver proposal. He explains that CMS provided Minnesota with explicit guidance in terms of how to draft the reinsurance program while maintaining full federal funding for MinnesotaCare, and highlighted the fact that the state never deviated from the instructions that were provided.The StarTribune editorial board called out then-Secretary of HHS, Tom Price and the Trump Administration for their lack of clarity on the issue, for apparently misleading the state during the 1332 waiver drafting process, and for effectively punishing the state of Minnesota for taking an innovative approach to ensuring that as many people as possible have health insurance.Insurers filed rates based on reinsurance being available.

And by the time the waiver was approved, there was very little time to evaluate the potential impacts of the funding changes, as rates had to be finalized by October 2 in Minnesota. The finalized rates did incorporate the reinsurance program. The state has accepted the approved waiver, but Gov. Dayton sent a letter to HHS on October 3, asking them to reconsider the MinnesotaCare funding cuts, but the issue has remained unresolved.Elimination of CSR funding results in additional funding cut for MinnesotaCare, but a lawsuit has partially restored that fundingNationwide, 54 percent of exchange enrollees benefit from cost-sharing subsidies.

But in Minnesota, only 13 percent of exchange enrollees are receiving cost-sharing subsidies. This is because of MinnesotaCare, which covers all enrollees with income up to 200 percent of the poverty level. That’s the same group that would otherwise benefit the most from cost-sharing subsidies, so the fact that MinnesotaCare is available means that most of the people who would otherwise be enrolled in cost-sharing subsidy plans are instead enrolled in MinnesotaCare.At first glance, this would appear to have made the uncertainty surrounding cost-sharing subsidy funding in 2017 a little less of a pressing issue in Minnesota than it was in many other states, since private insurers weren’t facing the sort of losses that insurers in other states were facing without federal funding for CSR. But when the Trump Administration eliminated federal funding for CSR in October 2017, HHS took the position tha t since CSR funding had been eliminated, the CSR portion of the federal funding for the BHPs in New York and Minnesota would be reduced to $0.

This was not a cut-and-dried conclusion, however, as explained earlier in 2017 by Michael Kalina.In January 2018, the Attorneys General for New York and Minnesota filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Health and Human Services, seeking to restore funding for their Basic Health Programs. A judge ruled in favor of the states in May 2018, ensuring that MinnesotaCare would continue to receive at least some CSR-based funding. The amount awarded to the state for the first quarter of 2018 was just over half of what the state had initially expected in CSR-related funding, but a larger chuck of the funding was restored later in 2018. According to the Star Tribune, however, Minnesota still ended up losing $161 million in federal funding for MinnesotaCare due to the CSR funding cuts.In early 2019, the Trump administration proposed yet another funding cut (a third, after the cuts imposed by the reinsurance program and the elimination of CSR funding) as part of a new methodology for calculating BHP funding.

This one was much smaller than the other two cuts, but taken together the funding reductions are pushing MinnesotaCare towards a looming budget shortfall. SHOP exchange. Down to one carrier as of 2016, zero by 2018 (and still zero in 2019)In 2015, there were two carriers in MNsure’s SHOP exchange for small businesses. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, and Medica.

But Medica announced in 2015 that they would exit the SHOP exchange in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin at the end of the year. That left BCBS as the only small group carrier available through MNsure in 2016, but it didn’t change much from a practical standpoint, since 83 percent of MNsure’s small groups were enrolled in plans through BCBS in 2015. Indeed, Medica’s reason for exiting the small business exchange was based on low enrollment in the first two years.Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota continued to be the only insurer offering SHOP coverage via MNsure in 2017, but announced in July 2017 that they would no longer offer SHOP coverage in 2018, and would instead transition their SHOP enrollees to small business coverage outside the exchange. At that point, there were only 3,287 people enrolled in SHOP coverage in Minnesota — far below the 155,000 people that were originally projected to have coverage through MNsure’s SHOP program by 2016 (this much lower-than-anticipated enrollment has been the case in nearly every state’s SHOP exchange.

This situation is not unique to Minnesota). State law provided 25% premium rebate in 2017. Amendment to allow plans without essential benefits was cut from final legislationThroughout 2016, then-Governor Dayton called for a state-funded premium rebate for people who buy their own insurance but aren’t eligible for the ACA’s premium subsidies (those are only available for people with income up to 400 percent of the poverty level, or $100,400 for a family of four in 2019).Governor Dayton also noted that the government needed to act quickly to stabilize the individual market in Minnesota, and by late November 2016, his patience with lawmakers was wearing thin. In a November 23 press conference, Dayton said that House Republicans needed to “stop dilly-dallying” and decide whether to move forward with Dayton’s rebate proposal.Dayton had also indicated that he was considering calling a special session of the legislature after election day to address the situation, and that was being negotiated for December 20.

But the talks fell through when Dayton and Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt couldn’t agree on the three bills that would have been addressed in the special session. As a result, there was no special session.Instead, the issue was taken up by lawmakers as soon as the 2017 legislative session began. On January 5, Minnesota Senators Michelle Benson (R, 31st District) and Gary Dahms (R, 16th District) introduced S.F.1. The bill called for using $300 million in state funding to provide a 25 percent rebate to roughly 125,000 people in Minnesota.S.F.1 passed the Minnesota Senate by a 35-31 vote on January 12.

Only one DFL Senator (Melisa Franzen, from Edina) voted with Republicans in favor of the legislation. It was then sent to the House, where an amendment was added that stripped out the requirement that health plans provide various mandated benefits (see “Journal of the Day” section “Top of page 154” in this version of the bill. Under the terms of the amendment, as long as a carrier offered at least one plan with all the mandated benefits, they would have been allowed to offer others without mandated benefits).The amended bill was sent back to the Senate on January 23. Differences between the bills that the two chambers passed had to be reconciled before being sent to Governor Dayton for his signature.

By that point, the amendment to allow less-robust plans to be sold had garnered national attention, and public outrage helped to push lawmakers away from the provision. S.F.1 had also called for $150 million to be appropriated for fiscal year 2018 (through June 30, 2019) from the state general fund to a state-based reinsurance program to stabilize the individual market (Alaska did something similar in 2016, preventing a market collapse), but that provision was also removed in the final version (Minnesota did ultimately set up a reinsurance program, effective in 2018, which has served to stabilize the market and reduce premiums).A Conference Committee in the Senate recommended that the House “recede from its amendments” and the Conference Committee report passed the Senate on a 47-19 vote. The House passed the bill a few hours later, 108-19. It was sent to Governor Dayton, who immediately signed it into law.

DFLers did have to compromise on one issue during the process. S.F.1 allows for-profit HMOs to begin operating in Minnesota’s individual market, which had long been limited to non-profit HMOs.Consumers were told to expect the premium rebates to show up by April 2017, but they were retroactively effective to January 2017. So a person who had been paying full price for a plan since January 2017 saw a substantial premium reduction on the April or May invoice. Going forward, for the remainder of the year, a 25 percent rebate applied each month.Since S.F.1 was signed into law with only a few days remaining in open enrollment (it ended January 31 that year), Governor Dayton and exchange officials were worried that there wouldn’t be enough time for people to learn about the rebate and apply for coverage before January 31.

In December, Dayton had asked HHS to allow MNsure to extend its enrollment deadline to February 28 (instead of January 31) in order to allow lawmakers more time to work out the details of a state-based premium rebate while still allowing people to enroll after the legislative process is complete.HHS denied the request for a blanket extension, but MNsure used their own authority on January 28 to grant a one-week special enrollment period (February 1 to February 8) due to exceptional circumstances. Although the state-based 25 percent premium rebate was available on or off the exchange, the one-week extension was only valid through MNsure. Health insurers did not have to accept off-exchange enrollments without a qualifying event after January 31.The 25 percent premium rebate program in Minnesota was only authorized for one year, so the rebates did not continue into 2018. And although almost 100,000 people received premium relief through the program in 2017, it ended up costing less than the legislature had allocated, and about $100 million was returned to the state’s budget at the end of 2017.Protecting Medicaid enrollees from estate liensIn every state, Medicaid is jointly funded by the state and the federal government.

Longstanding federal regulations, which predate the ACA, require states to “seek recovery of payments from the individual’s estate for nursing facility services, home and community-based services, and related hospital and prescription drug services” for any Medicaid enrollee over the age of 55. This applies essentially to long-term care services, but states also have the option to go after the individual’s estate to recover costs for other care that was provided by Medicaid after age 55.Prior to 2014, this wasn’t typically an issue, as Medicaid eligibility was generally restricted by asset tests or requirements that applicants be disabled or pregnant (although Minnesota did have much more generous Medicaid eligibility guidelines than most states prior to 2014). But as of 2014, in states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA, the only eligibility guideline is income. Applicants with income that doesn’t exceed 138 percent of the poverty level are directed to Medicaid, regardless of any assets they might have.When applicants use the health insurance exchange — MNsure in Minnesota — they’re automatically funneled into Medical Assistance (Medicaid) if their income is under 138 percent of the poverty level.

But what these enrollees didn’t know was that the state also had a program in place to put liens on estates for Medicaid-provided services for people age 55 and older.The combination of these systems caught numerous residents off guard. They were enrolled in Medical Assistance through MNsure based on their income, but were not aware that liens were being placed on their homes so that the state could recoup the costs upon their deaths.State Senator Tony Lourey (DFL, District 11) addressed the issue with language included in HF2749, the Omnibus supplemental budget bill, which was signed into law by Governor Dayton on June 1, 2016. The legislation limits estate recovery to just what’s required under federal Medicaid rules (ie, essentially, long-term care costs for people age 55 or older), and makes the provision retroactive to January 1, 2014.Early tech strugglesMNsure opened for business in the fall of 2013, but technological issues persisted well into 2015, despite numerous improvements throughout 2014. Given MNsure’s difficult launch, the state conducted a series of audits and reviews.

The first audit reviewed how MNsure spent state and federal money. Auditors concluded that the exchange has generally adequate internal controls and found no fraud or abuse. The review was conducted by the state Office of the Legislative Auditor, and the report was published in October 2014.Another audit, also conducted by the Office of the Legislative Auditor and released in November 2014, found that the MNsure system in some cases incorrectly determined who qualified for public health benefits. The errors occurred during the first open enrollment period, before a series of system fixes were implemented.

The audit did not quantify the total financial impact of the errors. The state Human Services commissioner said a consultant working on technical fixes to MNsure concluded that the eligibility functionality was working correctly as of June 2014.A third audit, a performance evaluation report released in February 2015, said “MNsure’s failures outweighed its achievements.” Among other criticisms, auditors said MNsure staff withheld information from the board of directors and state officials, the enrollment website was seriously flawed and launched without adequate testing, and the first-year enrollment target was unrealistically low.In April 2014, MNsure hired Deloitte Consulting to audit MNsure’s technology and improve the website to make enrolling in coverage and updating life events easier and more streamlined. Deloitte has been involved in successful state-run marketplaces for Connecticut, Kentucky, Rhode Island and Washington.Software upgrades were installed in August 2014, and system testing continued right up until the start of open enrollment. To reduce wait times for consumers and insurance professionals, MNsure increased its call center and support staff and launched a dedicated service line for agents and brokers.More in-person assisters were available in Minnesota for the 2015 open enrollment period.

MNsure encourages residents to utilize the exchange’s assister directory to find local navigators and brokers who can help with the enrollment process.MNsure has improved dramatically in terms of its technology since the early days of ACA implementation, and enrollment increased every year from 2014 through 2019.Lawmakers approved switching to HealthCare.gov as of 2019, but governor vetoedOn May 9, 2017, lawmakers in Minnesota passed SF800, an omnibus health and human services bill. Among many other things, the legislation called for switching from MNsure to the federally-run marketplace (HealthCare.gov) starting in 2019 (see Section 5). But Governor Dayton vetoed it.Gov. Dayton has long been supportive of MNsure, and had previously clarified that he would veto the bill.

In noting his plans to veto the legislation, Dayton made no mention of the transition to HealthCare.gov that was included in the legislation, but focused instead on the sharp budget cuts in the bill. But his veto ensured that MNsure would remain in place, at least for the time being.The Senate’s original version of SF800 did not call for scrapping MNsure, but the bill went through considerable back-and-forth between the two chambers, and the version that passed was the 4th engrossment of the bill.In March 2015, Dayton had asked the legislature to create a Task Force on Health Care Financing that would study MNsure along with possible future alternatives. Dayton noted in his letter that he supported making MNsure “directly accountable to the governor and subject to the same legislative oversight as other state agencies” and his budget included half a million dollars devoted to the task force. The spending bill was approved by the legislature in May, and the 29-member task force was appointed in the summer.One of the possibilities that the task force considered was the possibility of switching to Healthcare.gov, but it’s clear that there was no cut-and-dried answer to the question of whether Minnesota is better served by having a state-run exchange, switching to a federally-run exchange, or teaming up with the federal government on either a supported state-based marketplace or partnership exchange.In a December 2015 meeting of the task force, the MN Department of Human Services presented a financial analysis of the alternatives available to MNsure.

They determined that switching entirely to Healthcare.gov would cost the state an additional $5.1 million in one-time costs from June 2016 to June 2017. And switching to a supported state-based marketplace would cost an additional $6.6 million during that same time frame. If the state had opted to switch to Healthcare.gov, the soonest it could have happened was 2018, since HHS requires a year’s notice from states wishing to transition to Healthcare.gov, and Minnesota wouldn’t have been in a position to make a decision until sometime in 2016.There were significant reservations about making that switch prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling on King v. Burwell.

The Court ruled in June 2015 that subsidies are legal in every state, including those that use Healthcare.gov. Prior to the decision, a switch to Healthcare.gov could have jeopardized subsidies for tens of thousands of Minnesota residents. But once it was clear that Healthcare.gov’s subsidies are safe, some stakeholders began calling for Minnesota to scrap its state-run exchange and use Healthcare.gov instead. Because the MNsure task force was included in the 2016 budget, no hasty decisions were made.In January 2016, the task force submitted their recommendations to the legislature.

They covered a broad range of issues, but did not recommend that MNsure transition to the federal enrollment platform. Lawmakers essentially left the exchange alone during the 2016 legislative session.The magnitude of the 2016 rate increases that were announced in October resulted in MNsure opponents renewing their calls to switch to Healthcare.gov. But it’s important to keep in mind that the 41 percent weighted average rate hike in Minnesota was market-wide, and did not just apply to MNsure enrollees. In fact, the off-exchange carrier (PreferredOne) had among the highest rate hikes in the state for 2016, at 39 percent, and the exchange’s weighted average rate increase (38.5 percent) was lower than the weighted average rate increase for the whole individual market (41 percent).Minnesota health insurance exchange linksMNsure855-3MNSURE (855-366-7873)State Exchange Profile.

MinnesotaThe Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation overview of Minnesota’s progress toward creating a state health insurance exchange.Louise Norris is an individual health insurance broker who has been writing about health insurance and health reform since 2006. She has written dozens of opinions and educational pieces about the Affordable Care Act for healthinsurance.org. Her state health exchange updates are regularly cited by media who cover health reform and by other health insurance experts.Key takeaways Medicaid expansion in HawaiiHawaii adopted Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act, extending eligibility for Medicaid to adults with income up to 133 percent of the poverty level (138 percent with the automatic 5 percent income disregard).

Medicaid expansion took effect in January 2014.According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 70,000 Hawaii residents were uninsured in 2015. With Medicaid expansion now covering low-income, nonelderly adults, 50 percent of Hawaii’s remaining uninsured population at that point was eligible for Medicaid – although they may not realize that they’re eligible. According to U.S. Census data, only 3.5 percent of Hawaii residents were uninsured as of 2016, down from 6.7 percent in 2013.

Although the state’s uninsured rate was reduced by nearly half from 2013 to 2016, it was already less than half of the national average uninsured rate even in 2013, before the bulk of the ACA’s provisions had taken effect. Hawaii’s Prepaid Health Care Act, which has been in place since the 1970s, had already resulted in nearly all of the state’s population having insurance coverage, even before the ACA took effect. However, with the hypertension outbreak, job losses and the subsequent loss of employer-provided insurance have contributed to a jump in the uninsured rate across the U.S. As of May 2020, Hawaii’s uninsured rate was 10 percent.Medicaid expansion helped cement top-ranking health scores Federalpoverty levelcalculator 0.0% of Federal Poverty Level Hawaii has a long history of supporting initiatives to make health insurance broadly available to residents.

Hawaii was among the first six states that implemented a Medicaid program in January 1966, just six months after federal legislation authorizing the program was enacted. In 1974, Hawaii implemented its Prepaid Health Care Act, which mandated that most employers make health insurance available to employees who work at least 20 hours a week.In conjunction with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Hawaii initially implemented a state-run health insurance marketplace and adopted Medicaid expansion. The marketplace transitioned to a federally-supported state-run marketplace for 2016, and transitioned again to a fully federally-run exchange for 2017, largely in an effort to take advantage of the economies of scale that the federally-run exchange could bring to a state with low overall enrollment in the individual market (because of Hawaii’s Prepaid Health Care Act, nearly all non-elderly Hawaii residents get coverage from an employer, and relatively few need coverage under individual market plans). Nothing changed about Medicaid with the switch to Healthcare.gov though.

The expanded Medicaid eligibility guidelines are still in effect in Hawaii.Through its efforts, Hawaii consistently has low uninsured rates and high overall health scores. As of 2015, Hawaii was ranked the healthiest state in the nation according to the Gallup Healthways Physical Wellbeing Index, and the state consistently scores near the top in other ranking systems (number 2 the America’s Health Rankings 2017 survey, and number 3 in the Commonwealth Fund’s 2017 Scorecard on State Health System Performance).Who is eligible for Medicaid in Hawaii?. Hawaii’s Medicaid eligibility levels for children are much higher than the national average and about average for pregnant women and parents.Children ages 0-18 qualify with family income levels up to 308 of the federal poverty level (FPL)Pregnant women qualify with family income up to 191 percent of FPLParents and other adults qualify with family income up to 138 percent of FPLHawaii also uses Medicaid funds to help cover premium costs for Hawaii residents who aren’t U.S. Citizens but who are citizens of nations that have entered into the Compact of Free Association (COFA) with the U.S.How do I enroll in Medicaid in Hawaii?.

Hawaii’s Medicaid program is called MED-QUEST (MQD). QUEST stands for Quality care, Universal access, Efficient utilization, Stabilizing costs, and Transforming the way health care is provided to recipients.You can apply for MED-QUEST. Hawaii Medicaid enrollment numbersMore than 351,000 people were enrolled in Hawaii’s Medicaid and CHIP programs as of June 2020. This figure is a 22% increase over 2013 (pre-ACA) enrollment, when about 288,000 people were enrolled.

Accordingly to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 107,300 of those enrolled in Hawaii Medicaid are part of the ACA-authorized expansion as of June 2019.Hawaii Medicaid historyHawaii implemented its Medicaid program in January 1966.In the early 1990s, Hawaii implemented the State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) to cover people who weren’t eligible for Medicaid. Then, in 1994, CMS approved Hawaii’s section 1115 Medicaid waiver (one of the first in the nation) to wrap SHIP in with Medicaid in an effort to achieve universal insurance coverage (in combination with the state’s Prepaid Health Care Act). The result of the waiver was the creation of Hawaii’s MED-QUEST program, which initially covered low-income women and children, but has since expanded (as of 2009) to cover nearly all of Hawaii’s Medicaid beneficiaries. The MED-QUEST waiver is subject to renewal every five years.Medicaid in Hawaii is separated into two different methods of providing services.

The fee-for-service (FFS) program and the managed care program, called MED-QUEST or MQD. Under the FFS program, doctors and other healthcare providers bill Medicaid directly to be reimbursed for services provided to Medicaid beneficiaries. Under MED-QUEST, the state contracts with managed care plans who in turn provide healthcare services to Medicaid beneficiaries.As of 2011, more than 98 percent of the people enrolled in Hawaii’s Medicaid program were covered through managed care. By March 2015, Kaiser Family Foundation reported that 335,007 Medicaid enrollees in Hawaii were covered under managed care programs.

That’s higher than the August 2015 total Medicaid/CHIP enrollment count, but KFF notes that the managed care number includes people who are covered under Hawaii’s fully-state-funded Medicaid program, in addition to the majority of enrollees who are in regular Medicaid that’s funded partially by the state and partially by the federal government.In August 2017, Hawaii submitted a waiver amendment to CMS in order to gain federal approval to use Medicaid funding to provide housing services to qualified Medicaid enrollees who are homeless and also have behavioral health and/or substance abuse problems. That waiver request was still pending as of February 2018.Louise Norris is an individual health insurance broker who has been writing about health insurance and health reform since 2006. She has written dozens of opinions and educational pieces about the Affordable Care Act for healthinsurance.org. Her state health exchange updates are regularly cited by media who cover health reform and by other health insurance experts..