from LGBT Therapists member Dara Larson
More than 330,000 Minnesotans have enrolled in quality, affordable health insurance through MNsure. The number of uninsured Minnesotans fell by over 40 percent this year. However, there are still many people who don’t understand the benefits or insurance options they would have if they signed up through MNsure. This includes a large number of people living with mental illnesses and substance use disorders.
NAMI Minnesota has received a new MNsure grant to provide outreach and assistance to people living with mental illnesses and substance use disorders. NAMI Minnesota is partnering with its affiliates and several community mental health agencies across the state to ensure statewide outreach, and will be giving presentations in local communities. The partnering community mental health centers include Canvas Health, Central Minnesota Mental Health Center, Greater Minnesota Family Services, Lakeland Mental Health Center, Northern Pines Mental Health Center, Range Mental Health Center, Resource-Spectrum Mental Health, South Central Human Relations Center, Southwestern Mental Health Center, and Touchstone Mental Health. NAMI Minnesota is also partnering on this grant with its affiliates across the state, as well as Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health, Mental Health Association of Minnesota, and Dakota County.
So why should people enroll in a health insurance plan through MNsure? MNsure offers multiple health plans from insurance companies all in one easy-to-shop location. Insurance through MNsure is very affordable, and tax credits and cost-sharing reductions are available for those who don’t qualify for public health insurance through Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare. MNsure is the only place where an individual or family can obtain these tax credits to help pay for insurance premiums. An individual earning up to $45,000 per year or a family of four earning up to $94,000 will most likely qualify for a tax credit.
There are also benefits to people with mental illnesses and substance use disorders.
- All plans under MNsure must cover mental health and substance use disorder treatment, and must follow mental health parity laws.
- There are no exclusions or waiting periods for individuals with pre-existing health conditions.
- Medical Assistance expanded. People can be eligible for Medical Assistance based on income, not just based on having a disability.
- MinnesotaCare no longer has waiting periods or a $10,000 cap on inpatient hospital services.
People who are on Medicare or SSI are allowed to have supplemental insurance (Medical Assistance, or a private health insurance plan). Though they would not sign up through the MNsure website, they are still eligible for supplemental insurance through their counties.
Open Enrollment is from November 15th to February 15th. However, individuals may apply and be eligible for Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare at any time throughout the year. NAMI Minnesota and its partner agencies have navigators who can help you or your loved one sign up through MNsure, or assist you with supplemental insurance if you are on Medicare or SSI. To sign up or if you have questions, please contact NAMI Minnesota’s MNsure Project Coordinator, Dara Larson, at firstname.lastname@example.org.