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Associated Press, Published January 31 2013

How federal health insurance law could affect North Dakota, Minnesota

North Dakota

BISMARCK – A look at North Dakota’s health care system and how the federal health insurance law could affect the state:

How many people are uninsured in ND?

About 83,000 people, or 13 percent of North Dakota’s population, didn’t have health insurance in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Affordable Care Act seeks to reduce the number of uninsured by providing government subsidies to some workers who can’t afford insurance and by requiring people with higher incomes to get health insurance through online marketplaces, called exchanges, where people and businesses can shop among competing plans. The federal government is also pushing states to expand their Medicaid programs, which provide health care for the poor, but the expansion is optional.

What is ND doing about a health insurance exchange?

The Legislature in 2011 voted not to set up a state exchange but instead let the federal government do the job. However, lawmakers and Gov. Jack Dalrymple have said the state might be interested in a partnership with the federal government, an arrangement that would allow some state management of the system.

What is ND doing about expanding Medicaid?

North Dakota’s Medicaid program now covers about 65,000 people a month. The state Department of Human Services estimates the proposed expansion would add another 30,000 people. North Dakota officials are now considering the expansion. Under the new Affordable Care Act, the federal government would cover the full cost of expanding Medicaid through 2016, with the state’s contribution rising in stages to 10 percent.

Minnesota

ST. PAUL – Beginning in October, the way Minnesotans get health insurance will change as a result of the Affordable Care Act. The new law aims to reduce the uninsured population by requiring people to get coverage and by setting up online marketplaces called exchanges where people can look at private insurance options and government subsidies. Here are answers to some of the questions about how the process will work:

How many people in Minnesota are expected to get their insurance through the state’s new health care exchange?

About 1.3 million, or about a quarter of the state’s population.

How many residents are currently uninsured?

About 500,000, or about 9 percent of the state’s population. Minnesota’s exchange is expected to extend coverage to about 300,000 of them. The rest are either exempt, are expected to opt to pay the fines rather than buy insurance, or will likely fail to sign up for free coverage to which they’re entitled.

When does open enrollment begin?

Oct. 1.

When does the coverage take effect?

Jan. 1.

Who is eligible to buy coverage through the exchange?

Anyone lawfully present in this country, whether they’re U.S. citizens or foreign citizens with green cards.


Source: Minnesota Management and Budget