Minnesota CHIP Application Information
How to Apply for CHIP
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MinnesotaCare is created for low-income families who actually earn enough not to be eligible for Medical Assistance program, or any other kind of free Medicaid health insurance plan. Since these families need to have a steady level of monthly income, it's expected from them to pay a monthly premiums for MinnesotaCare which will ensure they've got high quality health care insurance at a reduced cost.
Once you've applied for MinnesotaCare and after you've been approved you'll need to choose a managed care health plan. That can be Medica, BlueCross/BlueShield or HealthPartners. You will get to use two cards, one from the MinnesotaCare and other from the health plan you've chosen. You'll need to have both of these cards each time you need any medical care or when you go to a pharmacy. After you've been approved you'll need to pay your monthly premium right away, so you can get to use your new health insurance plan from the first day of the next month after you've paid your first premium.
The procedure for these first steps after you've been approved for MinnesotaCare is slightly different if you're an adult without children since you'll be using Healthy Minnesota Contribution Program. You will need to purchase an insurance plan through the private insurance market. You'll be advised by the Department of Human Services which broker associations to use. With an agent from the broker association (which you can also find at www.healthymnagents.org) you'll find a private health insurance plan that'll suit you the best. You'll have four months to apply and to get a new insurance plan, after you've been approved by the Healthy Minnesota Contribution program. Note that private insurance companies usually need 30 to 60 days to process your request, so make sure you keep up with the timeframe.
MinnesotaCare is not a free health insurance program and that's why you'll be obligated to pay monthly premiums and co-payments. The amount of your monthly payment is determined by your household size and income. Since this depends on each particular case, you won't know how much your monthly premium is going to be until you apply for this program and after the worker calculates it. Still, you can see approximate amount of your premium by visiting Bridge to Benefits website and using their Screening tool. The address is http://mn.bridgetobenefits.org. There's also one exception which says that children who are living in a household with income under the 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines are excerpt from premium payments. If you'd like to know more about the co-payments, go to this site where you'll find detailed description of covered healthcare services as well as the amounts of co-payments.
Each month you will receive a MinnesotaCare monthly bill by mail. This is your monthly premium and you'll be able to pay it at the MinnesotaCare office in St. Paul by mail, with a check or money order. You can also pay it online with a check or by credit card. If you decide to pay a bill personally, go to MinnesotaCare offices at the Elmer L. Andersen building in downtown St. Paul at 540 Cedar Street (1st floor). Offices are open from Monday through Friday, from 8:30am to 4:30pm. If you wish to mail your payment, than mail it to: Cashier, MinnesotaCare P.C Box 64834 Saint Paul, MN 55164-0834. Finally, you can pay your bill online: http://payments.dhs.state.mn.us/SelectThePaymentType.asp.
In order to use MinnesotaCare benefits after you've been approved and granted with a health plan insurance card, you'll need to stick with certain rules. First of all, you'll need to pay premiums regularly and on a monthly basis. You'll also need to be in contact with your MinnesotaCare worker so you can report any changes in your household no more than 10 days of certain events (those could be births, deaths, income changes, moving to a new address and any job related changes). You'll also need to renew your MinnesotaCare application every 12 months.
At the end of your 12 month period of MinnesotaCare coverage, you will get a "Renewal Form" by mail. You'll need to fill it out and mail it right away so you can continue using MinnesotaCare coverage. Renewal form will primarily ask you if there are any changes in your household or income, so make sure you report any of those changes so the application can be processed quickly.
MinnesotaCare is created for various social groups like children, families, pregnant women and adults without children who are all eligible for using the benefits of this program. Basis eligibility requirements are:
- You have to reside in Minnesota
- You need to be a U.S. citizen or legal alien
- The applicant should be a citizen of US, or a legal alien
- You need to fulfill income and asset requirements which means that these need to be below the limit for this Health Care Program.
There are also some cases by which you won't qualify for MinnesotaCare and those cases are:
- If you've had health insurance during the last four months, unless this insurance was Medical Assistance
- If your job offers insurance and your employer pays 50% or more of the premium. On the other hand, if your employer pays 50% or more of the premium for you, but not for your spouse or children, they can be still eligible and receive MinnesotaCare coverage.
Speaking of the income limit which qualifies you to be eligible for this program, it depends on your age, the program you qualify for and who lives in your household. But generally speaking, during the process of reviewing your application almost every income is being counted towards the income limit. Those can be wages, self-employment, unemployment insurance, child support or any kind of welfare help. You can see income limit for every social category on this link:
Besides income limit, you should also fulfill asset limit requirement. For a family of one, the asset limit is $10,000 while the limit is $20,000 for a family of two and more. There's no asset limit for pregnant women as well as for children under the age of 21.
Assets which could be counted are:
- Money you've got in a bank
- Saving and checking accounts
- Stock and bonds
- Motor vehicles used for non-employment purposes (as well as any recreational vehicles like snowmobiles, motors, boats, etc.)
- Land you might own
There are also some assets which could not be counted towards the asset limit and those are:
- The house you live in
- Your own personal goods
- Motor vehicles used for employment purposes
- Retirement funds
Finally, if you're self-employed individual, the first $200,000 of capital and operating assets for your business won't be counted towards the asset limit of MinnesotaCare program.
CHIP Application Instructions
In order to apply for MinnesotaCare health insurance, you'll need to go through these three steps:
- Find and fill out required documents and forms
- Gather any required additional documents which will show that you're eligible and
- Mail your application and documents to your county office or to the MinnesotaCare office
There are several ways to get your copy of the MinnesotaCare application form. You can download it from this link:
You should be also able to receive an application at your county human services offices. You can also receive your application by mail, by calling Minnesota Health Care Programs Member Help Desk at (651) 431-2670 or (800) 657-3739.
There are also some additional documents you'll need to gather, besides application form. These documents are used as a proof that you're eligible for MinnesotaCare coverage and those are:
- Proof that you're a U.S. citizen
- Immigration status, in case you're not a U.S. citizen
- Documents regarding your income and assets
- Other health insurance plan in case you're got any
- Document regarding pregnancy (in case you're pregnant and you'd like to use MinnesotaCare)
After you've gathered all of the needed documents, you'll need to send them by mail to MinnesotaCare offices. It's a good idea not to send original documents, since they can get lost. You can also bring them yourself to the St. Paul office, located in the Elmer L. Andersen building at 540 Cedar Street.
It usually takes from one to two months for your application to be reviewed. Anyway, you'll receive an answer by which you'll be notified whether you've been accepted. If the answer is positive, you'll also get further instruction as well as all additional information. After you've paid the first premium, MinnesotaCare health insurance coverage will start the first day of the next month.