Health Insurance in MN

Why should I get health insurance?
It’s legally required and you can’t be denied! Click here to learn more about the law.

When can I sign-up for insurance/enroll?
If you submit the MNsure application and you qualify for insurance through Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare, you can sign-up at anytime. Enrollment in these public insurance programs is open year-round.

If you don’t qualify for Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare, you’ll need to sign up for a plan during “open enrollment.” Open enrollment is currently closed, and will not happen again until November 1, 2016 (for insurance coverage that starts in 2017). However, if you’ve had a “life change” (e.g. loss of employer health insurance coverage, new addition to your household, et. al.) or are an American Indian, you may be able to sign-up earlier. Click here for more details.

What are the biggest changes to the individual health insurance market in 2017?
Minnesotans who buy non-discounted, private health insurance on their own will have average premium increases of 50 to 67 percent for 2017. (If you qualify for a discounted insurance via a tax credit, you may not see such a steep increase in your insurance cost because you should qualify for a bigger tax credit).

As you shop for private insurance for 2017, make sure your doctor is in the insurance plan’s network. We’re noticing much smaller networks, with fewer choices of doctors and clinics, this year. Also, some insurance companies are placing caps on the maximum number of people they will accept into their individual market insurance plans. Once an insurance company has reached its capacity limit, those plans will no longer be offered both on and off MNsure. So, get shopping right away on November 1. You can sign up as early as November 1 for your plan to start on January 1, 2017.

Remember: If you currently have a private health insurance plan and do nothing by December 15, there’s a good chance the plan that you have now will be automatically renewed for January 1, 2017. If you don’t want your current plan (or it’s no longer being offered), be sure to shop for a new one and cancel the one you don’t want.

Do you know of an association I can join to get more affordable insurance?
Springboard doesn’t know any association you can join to get more affordable insurance in Minnesota than what’s available through the individual market. If you have access to group insurance through an employer (whether it’s your own, spouse’s, or parent’s) or a school, you should look into that to compare your options.

What happens if I can’t afford insurance?
Whether you are uninsured or underinsured, you can still get the care you need. To locate a clinic near you, visit this page and apply for our Artists’ Access to Healthcare (AAH) voucher program which gives artists and their family members vouchers to use, like a gift certificate, towards care. Our Emergency Relief Fund can help pay an unpaid medical bill (up to $500) that’s resulted from a medical emergency.

If you do not qualify for an exemption, you may have to pay a fine of about $695 per person or 2.5% of your family’s income (whichever is greater) if you don’t have insurance. We know it’s disappointing to have to pay for something and not get anything in return. But, you should know that the fine is an option. If the only health insurance options you have are “unaffordable” (by legal definition) or you’ve suffered a hardship, you may be able to apply for an exemption from the fine when you file your taxes for the year you didn’t have insurance. You can view a list of exemptions here.

Where can I sign-up for/enroll in a health insurance plan?
If you’d like to apply for free or discounted health insurance, you must apply on MNsure is a website that’s run by the state of Minnesota to help people shop and sign up for health insurance. You can find health insurance plans from most all the major “private” health insurance companies in this one place (e.g. HealthPartners; Medica; UCare). For more info about MNsure, click here and feel free to ask us questions.

If you do not want to apply for free or discounted health insurance, you can apply on or directly through a health insurance company.

What are the types of free and reduced-cost health insurance on
1. Medical Assistance (Medicaid) or MinnesotaCare. Because the government runs these insurance programs, they are referred to as “public” health insurance programs.
2. Tax Credit. If you don’t qualify for Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare, you may still qualify for a discount on the cost of a health insurance plan that you select on Make sure to read carefully about how the tax credit works (it’s tricky!) and don’t be afraid to ask us questions.

Eligibility depends on your family’s* size, combined income, ages and disabilities of family members. However, if you already have the option to get group insurance through an employer, it’s possible it could disqualify you from MinnesotaCare or a Tax Credit. This chart lists the income guidelines for the free and discounted health insurance programs. If your eligibility should change after you sign-up (because of a change in income, new family member, et. al), make sure to report this to MNsure immediately. They can work with you to get you in a new health insurance plan, if needed. *Your “family” is also called your “household.”

What’s the MNsure application process like?
MNsure uses one, online application to determine eligibility for all of the free or reduced cost health insurance programs. Once you submit the application and find out what you qualify for, you still have to pick a plan and pay your first month’s premium to complete your sign-up/enrollment in health insurance. An exception to this is free health insurance through Medical Assistance. If you don’t have to pay a premium for your health insurance through Medical Assistance, it’s possible you may be automatically enrolled and sent an insurance membership card without any further steps. Please click here for more information or to ask us questions.

Who can help me navigate this and fill out a MNsure application?
Springboard for the Arts can help, and it’s free! We’re available if you just have a question or would like to sit down to better understand all of this. We’re a certified MNsure Navigator so we can help you fill out the MNsure application to determine your options. But we CANNOT offer you advice on which plan to choose. Only Health Insurance Brokers can offer advice on which health insurance plan is the best for you. Working with a broker is also free and they can look at your options from many private insurance companies. Please see below for a list of Health Insurance Brokers.

Who can help me pick out a health insurance plan?
Only Health Insurance Brokers can offer advice on which health insurance plan is the best for you. Working with a broker is also free and they can look at your options from many private insurance companies. Please see below for a list of Health Insurance Brokers.

You can also check out this calendar to find a health insurance info and enrollment event presented by organizations across Minnesota, including our partners at UCare and Crosstown Insurance!


Crosstown Insurance
Vinez Benefits Group
Minnesota Health Coverage, Inc.
Dennis and Silvia Conger Insurance Agency
Andre Stephani: 612-599-8688

You may also use the “MNsure Assister Directory” to locate a broker near you.


Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota

How can I learn more about how health insurance works?
The health insurance industry uses a lot of jargon to describe how insurance works. This includes terminology such as “co-pay,” “deductible,” and “premium.” It’s helpful to understand these terms so you can find the right plan for you and know how to use it.  Click here for a glossary of these terms, watch our video, or visit to learn more. If you’d like individualized help understanding these terms, or how your particular health insurance plan works, you may contact your insurance provider (check for a phone number on your membership ID Card) or talk to a health insurance broker (if applicable). Please see below for a list of Health Insurance Brokers and Health Insurance Companies.


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