Jul 27, 2012 at 7:23 am
ST. PAUL, MN (KNSI) - A top state official says Minnesota has begun implementing a 2009 law with a goal of extending MinnesotaCare health care coverage to 16,000 uninsured children.
The announcement Thursday said parents with incomes below a certain level will no longer have to pay premiums for their children covered through MinnesotaCare.
"The premiums for one child in MinnesotaCare were about 70 dollars per child," Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson said. "You can see that removing those premium barriers I think will make a big difference in access to health care."
Also changed with the new law, no more four-month waiting period for poor children and allowing parents to enroll children in the program even if they don't sign up for employer-sponsored coverage. The changes became effective July 1.
Democratic House Minority Leader Paul Thissen sponsored the legislation and said with the changes, about 16,000 of the more than 70,000 Minnesota kids without insurance will now get access to a doctor or nurse when they need to.
"I think that is an incredibly exciting thing and really good progress for the state of Minnesota," Thissen said.
According to Thissen, the state needs more of these types of solutions that can make an immediate impact.
"We have been bogged down so much over the last two years in kind of political fighting over what we should do about health care, of ideological battles," Thissen said. "This is the kind of roll up the sleeves solutions oriented policy we need and it is going to make a difference in the lives of 16000 kids."
A highlighting of the changes comes after Minnesota dropped in a national ranking of children's health care coverage.