State officials work to ensure Minnesotans have health coverage during pandemic
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Minnesota’s human services commissioner is using emergency authority to ensure people remain covered and can access care and maintenance prescriptions as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Minnesotans who rely on Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare should know that their health care coverage is secure and that they have improved access to telemedicine and extended supplies of many prescription drugs.
"We are at a total now of 385,318 new unemployment insurance applications. You saw the federal numbers today, over 16 million nationally," said Steve Grove, Minnesota DEED Commissioner.
Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead has taken multiple steps under her emergency authority to waive and modify procedures during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency declared by Gov. Tim Walz.
Changes approved include:
- Restoring coverage for people whose enrollment was due to expire at the end of March.
- Postponing renewals, which could have led to gaps in coverage over paperwork issues.
- Suspending case closures unless a person requests one, moves out of state, or passes away.
- Expanding access to telemedicine for health care and home and community-based waiver programs.
- Allowing people to get up to a 90-day supply of prescriptions for maintenance medications, but not controlled substances.
- Eliminating co-payments and other cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing and treatment.
"This would be a heck of a time for people to be afraid they’ll lose their health care coverage, so I’m very proud of the executive order from Gov. Walz that has allowed us to keep people covered through this time and take that one concern away from them," Harpstead said.
Many Minnesotans who need health care coverage can apply for Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare at any time through MNsure or by calling 855-366-7873.
"I know there is a lot of work going on in the background to make those hotlines work better and to get them staffed up," Harpstead said.