Of course you want your insurer to help pay your medical bills, but what else should you expect for the premiums you pay each month? Help staying healthy. Your insurer can help you:
- Get doctor appointments
- Make sure everyone who is caring for you works together when you have a serious illness or injury
- Manage stress
- Get active
- Eat better
- Stop smoking and chewing
- Manage your weight
- And more. Be sure to ask!
How to shop
Kinds of insurance
Nearly 94 percent of Minnesotans have some type of health insurance to help them get care and pay medical bills. Learn more about each kind.
Where to get insurance
Need health insurance and can’t get it through work? Here are some options from companies that work with us.
First, think about your life and health
- Are you 65 or have a disability (as defined by the federal government)? If so, shop for Medicare.
- Minnesotans under 65 can get insurance on their own in three ways: buy it through MNsure or directly from an insurer; or if you qualify, get Medicaid or MinnesotaCare.
Makes some notes on what kind of care you usually get each year
- Do you regularly take any prescription medications?
- How many times a year do you usually get care? Are you someone who seems to get sick with strep throat or bronchitis or pink eye often?
- How about something more serious like diabetes, COPD or other chronic conditions? How often to you get care for chronic conditions?
- How much have your medical bills been in the past?
Think about paying for care
The answer to this question helps focus your search for policies labeled Gold, Silver or Bronze.
- With policies that are called “Gold” you’ll pay more each month, but less when you get care.
- With policies that are “Bronze” you’ll have the lowest monthly premium, but have to pay more when you need care.
- Policies that are labeled “Silver” fall in between.
Search and compare your options
What policies include my doctor, clinic, hospital and pharmacy?
Insurers works with specific group of doctors, clinics, hospitals and others who provide care—it’s called a network. If you already have a doctor, hospital or clinic you want to keep, look for health insurance where its included. Usually, you pay less when you get care in network and more if your care is outside your network.
Does the policy cover me while traveling?
Some policies pay for general care when you’re away from home, others don’t. Care for true emergencies is often paid for wherever the emergency happens.
Does the policy work with a health savings account (HSA)?
This article does a good job explaining HSAs and how they work.
What does the policy include to help you get and stay healthy?
- a 24-hour nurse line or online care?
- how do the fitness center discounts work?
- what kind of help is there to help you manage stress, quit smoking and eat healthy?
Hospital, clinic and prescription medication insurance mostly for people 65 and older. Hospital is called Part A, Medical Part B and Prescription medications Part D.
You can get Medicare several general ways:
- Medicare Advantage, you get hospital, clinic and medication with one card. You’ll also have help getting appointments and making sure everyone who cares for you works together. And you’ll often get things like a gym membership that isn’t available with Original Medicare.
- Original Medicare, helps pay for care at hospitals and clinics. You buy help paying for prescription medications separately.
- Supplement, or Medigap, policies are available from private companies to help you pay for part of your bill for care.
There are a lot of details. Like with any insurance policy, not everything is covered. You can learn more here.
Buy on my own
The Minnesota Department of Commerce oversees health insurance Minnesotans buy on their own. Here’s where you can find more information. You can also contact the health insurers directly, they are listed to the right. MNsure is a good resource as well, and it’s where you can get federal help paying your premiums each month, if you qualify.
Most Minnesotans get their health insurance through work. If you have a question about the insurance you get through work, call the member services number on the back of your health insurance card. In addition, your benefits office if you’re in a large company or the person in charge of payroll (usually) can help answer questions as well. If you’re interested in how coverage through work looks like across the country, the Kaiser Family Foundation has understandable information.
Medicaid & MinnesotaCare
Every day, health insurers spot gaps in care, ensure that people get appointments, arrange rides, coordinate medical care and community-based services, and do more to support more than 900,000 Minnesotans who get care through Medicaid and MinnesotaCare. By working with local insurers for the last 30 years, the state gets help solving problems, and makes sure people across Minnesota can get care.
- Here is where you sign up. The sign up system will put you in the right kind of insurance. It depends on how old you are, where you live and how much money you make each month.
- Here you can find a map of counties across Minnesota and what companies can help people get the care they need.
- Here you can find information on each company, such as what state reviews have to say about the work, how satisfied current enrollees are with the care they get and more.
Medicaid & Medicare combined for people who have disabilities or are over 65
Minnesota’s public insurance options that combine Medicare and Medicaid are the envy of many health policy experts across the country. One kind of insurance, Minnesota Senior Health Options, is for people 65 and older who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid.
Another kind of insurance, Special Needs BasicCare, is for people who live with disabilities.
Writers at HealthAffairs say that Minnesota’s approach is a model for the rest of the country. A recent evaluation , they said, of Minnesota Senior Health Options program, showed a 48 percent reduction in inpatient hospitalizations and a 26 percent reduction in the total number of hospital stays for patients who were hospitalized during the year. The researchers at Long Term Services and Supports rank Minnesota at #2 in the country on its work so far to improve services for older adults and people with physical disabilities, and their family care partners. Minnesota had been #1 for several years, but Washington took the top spot in the most recent ranking. Minnesota’s scores are worse than the national average on percent of people living in nursing homes who have low needs for care, and the percent of people with home health care who end up needing to be hospitalized.
Minnesota eared recognition for its work to reduce the chances of someone needed to be in a care facilities a long time after they were hospitalized.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota
Free help is available
There are a lot of places online to get free help figuring out what kind of insurance may work best for you. You don’t have to buy from the organizations to use these tools:
MNsure’s online guide
Insurance navigators and brokers and help make getting insurance easier. Brokers are listed on health insurer websites and are paid by the insurer. MNsure also works with navigators and brokers.