Some Families Left With Few Options When Applying for MNsure

Updated: 11/27/2013 5:25 AM By: Jay Kolls

There are circumstances that adversely affect some Minnesota families applying for health insurance through MNsure.

Jennifer Slafter, and her family, are a good example of a set of circumstances making it tough for some to get the help they need through the state's new health insurance exchange program known as MNsure.

Slafter along with her husband and two daughters found out their health insurance premiums were going up about 40 percent in 2014. Slafter's husband was told by the owner of the small company where he works that Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) from the employer would no longer be allowed under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) because the company did not offer a health insurance plan to its employees.

Faced with a higher deductible and a much higher monthly premium, Slafter says she went to the MNsure website hoping to find a cheaper, or comparable health plan for the family.

Slafter tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS she was told her options would amount to a much higher premium and higher deductible than the plan they already have.

Slafter says she called MNsure to see if those were the only options and she says she was told the only cheaper alternative was to put her and her husband on a private plan and shift their two daughters to a Medicaid plan. Slafter does not want to split the family up with different coverage. She adds, Fillmore County officials told her there are no Medicaid medical providers in her county, which means they would have to travel much farther to get their children the medical care they need and probably not with the doctor they currently use.

MNsure declined an on-camera interview, but issued a statement that says, in part, "privacy laws prevent us from discussing details of individuals and their current health coverage." It goes on to say MNsure must keep eligibility requirements for recipients of public health assistance the same as they were prior to passage of the ACA. The Slafters say they have reached out for help from the offices of Senator Franken and Senator Klobuchar, but have not received a response.