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Minnesota Receives Federal Approval for Medical Assistance Expansion

February 17, 2011
Minnesota Department of Human Services on track to provide better care for more Minnesotans at less cost
 
 
St. Paul— Governor Dayton announced today that Minnesota has received federal approval from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to expand its Medical Assistance (MA) program. Starting March 1st more low income Minnesotans will be eligible for Medicaid benefits, which will result in better care for more people and at less cost to the state. Additionally this will save or create 20,000 jobs in our state’s health care related industries.
 
"I thank Secretary Sebelius for expediting this approval," said Governor Dayton.  "Because of her, 95,000 Minnesotans will receive better health care at less cost to our state."
 
Under the expansion, approximately 83,000 people who are currently enrolled in two state-funded programs – General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC) and MinnesotaCare – will receive MA, which provides more comprehensive benefits and has lower co-pays. An additional 12,000 people who are uninsured are expected to enroll. All are adults without children who have incomes at or below 75 percent of the poverty level, about $677 a month or $8,124 a year for one person.
 
"We applaud Governor Dayton for using the flexibility the Affordable Care Act provides states to expand coverage for its lowest-income Minnesota residents –residents who may now be going without necessary health care because they cannot afford to pay," Secretary Sebelius said. "Today’s action will bring substantial new federal support to the state and help improve the health of its citizens."
 
"We are off to a good start with expansion work," said Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. "Since Governor Dayton signed the executive order for the expansion on Jan. 5, DHS staff and our county and federal partners have diligently worked to ensure that the new program will be ready to go on March 1.  Community agencies, health care providers, health plans and other stakeholders have stepped in to help the transition go as smoothly as possible in a short timeframe."
 
DHS is providing information to clients and stakeholders about the process. It began mailing notices to MinnesotaCare enrollees starting Feb. 15. Notices to GAMC enrollees are scheduled to be in the mail beginning Feb. 24. Stakeholder forums began Feb. 14. A transition guide is available for county and state workers.        
 
Additional information about the MA expansion is at www.dhs.state.mn.us/MAexpansion.