MN Health Care Program for Low-Income Workers Faces Deep Deficit

Updated: 01/15/2014 10:17 PM By: Jay Kolls

New budget projections for MinnCare, the state's health insurance program for low-income workers, could show a deep financial hole in the next five years.

An email from the Minnesota Council of Health Plans indicates what 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has been told, that MinnCare could be in the red "around 500 to around 600" million dollars. The email was in response to our inquiry about the financial status of MinnCare.

We asked Gov. Mark Dayton for a response to the new budget numbers, but his office referred us to the Minnesota Management and Budget Office (MMB).

The Minnesota Department of Human Services also referred our questions to MMB, but the MMB told us we would have to wait until the numbers are released Wednesday.

MinnCare enjoys a $26 million surplus right now, but health care experts tell 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the expansion of the Medicaid program from the Federal Government and more enrollees through MNsure have lead to the poor budget projections for MinnCare. 

Dave Feinwachs, former lead attorney at the Minnesota Hospital Association, says "taxpayers will be asked to close a gap that big." Feinwachs says medical providers might also have to pay a higher provider tax to help balance the MinnCare budget.

MMB will release new budget projections for MinnCare on Wednesday.