Jan. 30, 2012

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Jeremy Drucker
Communications
651-431-2920

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Governor’s budget expands health coverage to over 145,000 Minnesotans
Commissioner Jesson to testify today on expansion of Medical Assistance

ST. PAUL, MN – This afternoon, Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson is testifying before the Senate Health, Human Services and Housing Committee, discussing Gov. Mark Dayton’s budget proposal to expand Medical Assistance (MA) eligibility. Expanding MA would provide quality health coverage for more than 145,000 Minnesotans, including 47,000 children and pregnant women and 98,000 low-income adults.

One of Governor Dayton’s first acts in office was signing an executive order expanding access to MA for 83,000 low-income Minnesotans. In doing so, the governor provided access to quality health care coverage for those who need it most – reducing the burden of uncompensated care on hospitals and saving an estimated 20,000 health care sector jobs.

The governor’s Budget for a Better Minnesota builds on that progress, covering more uninsured Minnesotans, maximizing federal funding for public health care programs, and simplifying the enrollment process. The Governor’s budget ensures that taxpayer dollars for public health programs are well-spent, including new reforms that would make it easier for eligible Minnesotans to obtain and keep MA coverage, as well as savings of $59 million from negotiating lower rates for managed care contracts.

Minnesota is already estimated to save $1.3 billion over five years as a result of the Affordable Care Act. In addition to expanding MA eligibility, the governor’s budget would implement ACA measures that improve coverage and service in our publicly-funded health care programs.

The Specifics

Effective January 1, 2014, Governor Dayton’s budget proposes several changes that expand MA eligibility for Minnesotans:

• Implementing optional MA expansions to 138 percent of FPG. The governor’s budget expands MA coverage to adults without children with incomes between 75 and 138 percent of federal poverty guidelines (FPG). His budget also expands coverage to parents and people ages 19-20 with incomes between 100 and 138 percent of FPG.

• Expanding MA to maintain coverage for children and pregnant women up to 275 percent of FPG. The governor’s budget raises the MA income limit for children ages 2 through 18 from 150 to 275 percent of FPG. It enrolls pregnant women with incomes up to 275 percent FPG in MA instead of MinnesotaCare. This eliminates premiums for children and pregnant women.

• Making MA eligibility and enrollment changes. The governor’s budget streamlines MA eligibility through the use of Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) methodology and automated annual renewals using electronic verification methods. In addition, his budget eases program barriers by allowing hospitals to presume MA eligibility, eliminating asset tests for parents and providing coverage to children leaving foster care until age 26. These changes are required under ACA.

Number of People Affected (FY2015)

• Low-income adults. Expanding MA to adults with incomes up to 138 percent of FPG will provide coverage for an additional 87,000 Minnesotans (about 53,000 of whom will come from MinnesotaCare).

• Children and pregnant women. Raising the income limit for children and enrollment of pregnant women will provide coverage for an additional 107,000 Minnesotans (about 60,000 from MinnesotaCare).

• Reducing barriers to coverage. Streamlining eligibility and easing barriers will provide coverage for an additional 64,000 Minnesotans.

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