64,000 Minnesotans dropped from state-sponsored health insurance get extension

The Minnesota Department of Human Services is extending the 2016 renewal period for 64,000 Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare enrollees who failed to submit the necessary paperwork before the Dec. 19 deadline.

DHS says about 135,000 cases were up for renewal this month, but some renewal paperwork may not have been processed in time to stop a closure notice from being sent to the enrollee.

Medical Assistance covers those with incomes at or below the poverty line, while MinnesotaCare covers a slightly higher income group. About 1 million Minnesotans have coverage through the public insurance programs.

Officials with Portico, an insurance navigator, tell Fox 9 they have received "quite a few" calls in the last few days. The majority of callers claim they submitted a renewal form, only to receive a letter informing them they were losing coverage. They also have received calls from people who say they never received notice of renewal.

Update from DHS

The 2016 health care renewals period is being extended, allowing people more time to submit their forms. Cases that were closed will be re-opened for January coverage. This coverage will be effective beginning Jan. 1, 2016. 

We will issue notices to enrollees who did not return their renewal forms and to enrollees whose renewal forms DHS was unable to process by Dec. 31, and provide additional instructions for what they need to do to continue coverage in February.

If enrollees have questions they can call the Minnesota Health Care Programs Member Help Desk at 651-431-2670 or 800-657-3739. The Member Help Desk will be open New Year’s weekend, Jan. 1-3, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. See the MHCP Member Help Desk contact information page for more information.

Statement from DHS Deputy Commissioner Chuck Johnson

“This was the first year of the new renewal system and we recognize this process has been extremely challenging and frustrating for users of public programs, particularly enrollees, county workers, navigators and DHS staff. When this process is finished we will be doing a review to discover where and how we can do better for the people we serve.”