Feb. 6, 2013

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Jeremy Drucker
Communications
651-431-2920

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Commissioner Jesson statement on HHS Basic Health Plan announcement

Today the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a timeline and framework for states, including Minnesota, interested in pursuing a provision in the Affordable Care Act known as the Basic Health Plan. This announcement means that Minnesota’s nation-leading health care program for the working poor, MinnesotaCare, now has a path not only to be preserved, but improved upon as well.

“Today’s announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services is good news for Minnesotans,” said Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. “It provides a framework for Minnesota and the federal government to partner together to ensure continuation and improvement of MinnesotaCare, and will enable thousands of low-income working Minnesotans to experience the benefits of significant health reform. I want to thank HHS Secretary Sebelius for her willingness to work with us on this critical issue. I also want to thank our federal delegation, especially Senators Klobuchar and Franken, as well as the bipartisan group of state legislators and other interested people who came together as Minnesotans to advocate for this important program.”

HHS expects to issue proposed rules regarding the Basic Health Program for comment in 2013 and final guidance in 2014, so that the program will be operational beginning in 2015. For states like Minnesota, HHS will work with them in the interim to identify similar flexibilities to design coverage systems for 2014, such as continuity of coverage as individuals’ income changes.

More than 130,000 Minnesotans rely on MinnesotaCare each month for affordable, comprehensive health coverage. MinnesotaCare enrollees are parents and children in working families who lack access to affordable, employer-based health coverage but are not quite poor enough to qualify for Medicaid.

More details on the announcement can be found online at: http://medicaid.gov/State-Resource-Center/Frequently-Asked-Questions/Downloads/ACA-FAQ-BHP.pdf

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