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There are many ins and outs for getting and staying covered. This FAQ is a resource for common questions and guidance around health insurance - don't hesitate to be in touch!

What has (and hasn't!) changed for 2019 health insurance coverage?
1) If you're using MNsure, it's business-as-usual. All types of free and discounted insurance options are still available. Plans still have to fulfill certain coverage requirements like they've done in previous years.

2) If you're getting your own individual/family insurance outside of MNsure or an employer, watch out! They've loosened requirements for some health insurance plans sold outside of MNsure, meaning you could be denied or charged more because of a pre-existing condition, or end up with a plan that covers far less than expected. Know what you're buying and don't be afraid to ask a broker for help (it's free, see more below).

3) You won't be penalized for not having "adequate" insurance. It's technically still "the law of the land" to have adequate insurance, but the government won't be enforcing the fine for people who don't have it in 2019. You can read more about that here.

When can I sign-up for insurance/enroll?

If you qualify for free or discounted 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 likely need to sign up for a plan during “open enrollment.” Open enrollment for 2019 runs from November 1, 2018 - January 13, 2019 through MNsure and November 1, 2018 - December 15, 2018 outside of MNsure.

Even if it's outside of open enrollment, you may still be able to enroll 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. Click here for more details.

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 of the major “private” health insurance companies in this one place.

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

Who can help me fill out a MNsure application?
Navigators are people certified through MNsure to provide free help. To get help from a Navigator, contact Portico Healthnet (serving the Twin Cities area) or find a Navigator near you using MNsure's Assister Directory.

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 or locate a Broker near you using MNsure's Assister Directory.


Crosstown Insurance
Vinez Benefits Group
Minnesota Health Coverage, Inc.
Dennis and Silvia Conger Insurance Agency

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.

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?
In previous years, people have been fined for not having adequate health insurance. That fine is no longer being enforced if you don't have health insurance in 2019.

For 2018, it's still possible to be fined for not having "adequate" health insurance. 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. You can view a list of exemptions here. 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). 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. And, heads-up:

Whether you are uninsured or underinsured, there is help to get the care you need. To locate a low-cost 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.

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, or watch our video 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- see above for a list). Please see below for a list of Health Insurance Companies.

As you shop for private insurance, make sure your doctor is in the insurance plan’s network. We’re noticing much smaller networks, with fewer choices of doctors and clinics. 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.


Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota


Questions about this page?

Program Director- Health