Minnesota House of Representatives


State Representative JoAnn Ward

231 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

For more information contact: Susie Merthan 651-296-2955

Posted: Sep 12 2013 4:35PM
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2013 Interim Update: Town hall meeting update, special session and MNsure information

Dear neighbors,
Town Hall Meeting Canceled Saturday, September 14
Unfortunately, I am going to have to reschedule this Saturday’s education-focused town hall meeting.  Our special guest, Chair Mariani, has a conflict.  I will reschedule the meeting when he can be in attendance to answer questions about E-12 education.  My next meeting will be Saturday, October 19, with Commerce Chair Rep. Joe Atkins to discuss healthcare and the new MNsure insurance exchange program.  The meeting will be at Woodbury City Hall at 10a.m.
Special Session
On Monday, the Legislature convened for a one-day Special Session to approve $4.5 million in disaster relief funding for 18 Minnesota counties damaged by storms in June.
The 18 Minnesota counties eligible for disaster relief aid include Benton, Big Stone, Douglas, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Grant, Hennepin, Houston, McLeod, Morrison, Pope, Sibley, Stearns, Stevens, Swift, Traverse and Wilkin. Funding will be distributed through the Department of Public Safety.
As you may remember, these storms caused widespread flooding and the largest power outage in state history.  We avoided serious damage in our area, but infrastructure was damaged in communities across the state.  The legislature met to appropriate funds in order to secure a federal match for disaster relief aid.  These funds will go towards repair costs for damaged roads, bridges, buildings and other public infrastructure as communities around the state continue to repair and rebuild.
Under recently passed federal Affordable Care Act (also known as ‘Obamacare’) states have the option of implementing their own health insurance exchange or using a federal model to ensure that all citizens have healthcare coverage by January 1, 2014.  In Minnesota, our healthcare exchange is being rolled out under the name ‘MNSure.’
Last Friday, the Minnesota Department of Commerce announced that the rates of health insurance that will be available on MNSure will be the lowest in the nation compared to other states with similar products. This is good news for both Minnesota’s insured and uninsured families.  Minnesota’s highest cost “gold” plan is actually cheaper than the lowest cost “bronze” plan offered in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Montana, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Vermont, and Washington. For example, a 25 year-old in the Twin Cities can expect to pay about $90 per month, a 40-year old will pay $115 per month and a 60 year-old will pay $245 per month, before counting federal tax credits available to most middle class families [for a plan that covers 60% of expected costs].  Federal tax credits could cut health insurance premiums and cost-sharing even more (for individuals with incomes up to $46,000; family of four with income below $94,000).
Changes to insurance plans include out-of-pocket spending capped at $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for families, and that Minnesotans can no longer be denied based on preexisting conditions. The health plans offered include existing networks of providers, meaning Minnesotans will be able to keep their doctor.  Health plans participating in MNSure include Blue Cross/Blue Shield; Health Partners; Medica; PreferredOne and UCare (for the first time in the private market). The small employer market will include Blue Cross; Medica; and PreferredOne.
For more information on these insurance rates, you can visit:
And you can contact MNsure directly with questions at:
1-855-3-MNSURE (1-855-366-7873)
Monday - Friday 7:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. and Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 
Or in person at:
81 East 7th Street, Suite 300 
St. Paul, MN 55101-2211
To find a specific doctor, you can search here:
As always, please be in touch with your questions, concerns or comments.  I appreciate hearing from you.
JoAnn Ward


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