Gov. Mark Dayton renewed efforts Tuesday to reverse a decision by federal health officials that could cost the state $369 million a year in connection with its MinnesotaCare health insurance program
In a letter to top health regulators in Washington, D.C., Dayton urged them to reconsider a recent decision that would sharply cut the federal funding stream that helps pay for MinnesotaCare. The proposed federal cutbacks came to light two weeks ago when Dayton revealed them in a letter where he said the state was being penalized unfairly.
Without the funding, the insurance program for the working poor could be in jeopardy, although it does have enough money to operate through 2018.
Federal officials recently approved Minnesota’s application to start a reinsurance program passed by the 2017 Legislature, which is designed to hold down premiums in another sector of Minnesota’s health insurance marketplace, the troubled individual market.
As a result, state officials announced Monday that 2018 premiums in the individual market for the largest carriers will show only modest changes, ranging from a 13 percent decrease to an increase of less than 3 percent.
But in announcing approval of the reinsurance program, federal officials also told the state that MinnesotaCare would lose some funding.
Dayton’s letter included a memo from his general counsel, Kimberly Holmes, which argued that federal regulators were relying on a narrow reading of federal rules and that Minnesota should be allowed to accept the reinsurance program without harming MinnesotaCare.
MinnesotaCare insures about 100,000 residents who do not qualify for Medicaid, the federal-state insurance program for the poor and disabled, but make less than $24,120 for a single person or $49,200 for a family of four.