For more information contact: DJ Danielson 651-296-8879
I hope this update finds you well as we head toward winter. Entering this stage of the year, there is plenty to look forward to, including Thanksgiving and the holidays that follow which are full of time with family and friends. Skiing, skating, snowmobiling, ice fishing, and other fun outdoor activities make up our fabric as Minnesotans.
For many in our community though, colder weather can pose significant challenges. Specifically, the burden of heating bills can be too much to bear for some families, and no one deserves to be left in the cold. For those Minnesotans under certain income levels, help may be available for payment of energy bills, help with utility disconnections or fuel deliveries, and advocacy with power companies and human service providers. For more information, including eligibility and how to apply, please visit the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s website here.
On October 15, the Minnesota Cold Weather Rule also went into effect which protects residential utility customers from having their heat shut off during the winter months. Certain low-income consumers aren’t required to pay more than 10 percent of their household income toward current and past heating bills, while others are eligible to arrange a Cold Weather Rule payment plan. More information is available from the Public Utilities Commission here.
It’s also the time of the year when open enrollment is available for those accessing health insurance on the individual market. The open enrollment period runs until January 14, but if you want to ensure coverage on January 1, the deadline to enroll is December 20. Visit www.mnsure.org, our state’s health insurance exchange, to compare plans and apply for coverage. Whether you get coverage through a public program, like Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare, or a commercial plan, MNsure serves as your “one-stop-shop” for coverage, even if different family members qualify for different programs. Additionally, applying through MNsure is the only way to take advantage of valuable tax credits as well.
If you need assistance with the process, certified navigators in Duluth are available. Insure Duluth is a coalition of community organizations helping folks in the area understand and utilize MNsure. Visit www.insureduluth.org or call 2-1-1 (1-800-543-7709) for help. Making sure all Minnesotans can have accessible, affordable health care is a key value of mine, and I will continue working on solutions to make this a reality.
Also on the topic of values: what are yours? Recently, other legislators and I have launched the Minnesota Values Project, bringing Minnesotans together for conversations in every corner of the state from Apple Valley, to Grand Rapids, and beyond asking just that question. These have been frank, challenging, and thoughtful discussions about the best ways to move Minnesota forward. I invite you to share your thoughts and let us know what you value. Please take this opportunity to fill out a brief, four-question survey.
Please keep in touch with me and share any questions or comments you may have. I love hearing your feedback, so don’t hesitate to contact me at any time.
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