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Nobles County, southwest Minnesota receive large MNsure tax credits

WORTHINGTON -- With the MNsure open enrollment deadline approaching Jan. 14, the health care exchange is promoting huge cost savings for Worthington-area residents.

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WORTHINGTON - With the MNsure open enrollment deadline approaching Jan. 14, the health care exchange is promoting huge cost savings for Worthington-area residents.

 

About 77 percent of enrolled households in Nobles County receive federal tax credits, which save the average eligible resident $11,200 per year on health care, according to Allison O’Toole, MNsure CEO.

 

That’s significantly higher than the Minnesota average. Statewide, 60 percent of MNsure enrollees receive tax credits, with the average annual tax credit reaching $7,044.

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Southwest Minnesota as a whole gets significantly more tax credit assistance than the rest of the state. In Rock County, 81 percent of MNsure enrollees get tax credits; the average eligible resident saves $12,228 annually in Cottonwood County..

 

The eligibility and value of tax credits depend primarily on income, age, location and family size.

 

O’Toole said it takes less than five minutes to go to MNsure.org to learn if one can get a tax credit on private insurance or enroll in programs such as MinnesotaCare of Medical Assistance (Medicaid). It’s the only place Minnesotans can go to get federal tax credits.

 

“It’s so easy and such a critical step because it’s truly the difference between unaffordable and affordable for some people,” O’Toole said. “We want as many Minnesotans as possible to be protected.”

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Nobles County has issues with health care coverage. In 2015, a state-high 10.1 percent of residents under age 65 were without health insurance, according to census data.

 

That’s where O’Toole hopes MNsure navigators and brokers can help guide people through the complicated health care process. Worthington has four brokers, one of whom speaks Thai and Laotian. United Community Action Partnership helps connect navigators in southwest Minnesota.

 

“These are experts who can help people navigate this process and ultimately help save them money,” O’Toole said.

The recently-passed Republican tax bill could impact Minnesota health care in 2019, when the individual healthcare mandate is set to expire.

 

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“Unlike many other states, we have worked on a bipartisan basis to stabilize our individual market,” O’Toole said. “When you take away the mandate that everybody has insurance, it drives up premiums and kind of flies in the face of what we’re trying to do in Minnesota at the state level to stabilize our market.”

 

However, the bill will not directly affect tax credits.

 

“Plus, it’s a year away, a lot can happen,” O’Toole said.

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