MinnCare Faces Budget Deficit; Feds Won't Give More

Updated: 04/06/2014 10:46 PM KSTP.com By: Jay Kolls

Minnesota Care (MinnCare), the state's health insurance program for low-income working families, faces a projected budget deficit of $237 million by 2016.

The Federal Government has told the state it will not adjust its budget to help Minnesota pull MinnCare out of the red ink. That means state lawmakers must now find ways to come up with the extra money to keep MinnCare solvent in coming years.

Part of the budget problem rests with a higher number of people landing on MinnCare as more people sign up for health insurance on MNsure, the state's new health insurance exchange program.

But, we've also found at least one person who has been placed in MinnCare, by MNsure, who probably doesn't really belong on the taxpayer-financed MinnCare plan.

Steve Schweda has hundreds of thousands of dollars safely put away in retirement and savings accounts and he tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS "someone with hundreds of thousands of dollars in his retirement plan, you probably wouldn't want to put on welfare. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense."

Yet, Schweda says MNsure officials put him on MinnCare - paid mostly by taxpayers. He says he never intended to sign up for MinnCare, but that's where MNsure put him, "all they have is an income test. They have no asset test. So, it doesn't matter how big of a house you have, it doesn't matter how much money you have saved up, or invested in any form, it is just what your income is," Schweda says.

Schweda says he thinks there are probably many others out their just like him whose health insurance is paid by taxpayers when they could easily afford private health insurance, "anybody who thought about it would not set it up this way. No matter whose money it is, if you just thought about it for a minute, you would say 'this makes no sense.'"