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John, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Licensed and practicing attorney.
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I am currently on my employer's health care plan, but

Customer Question

Hello! I am currently on my employer's health care plan, but am paying $480 per month. Since I don't make very much ($10.29 per hour), this amounts to approx. 27% of my gross pay. I am getting help from MNSURE in Minnesota to help with my premiums and deductibles, BUT several months ago, I received a notice from MNSURE saying that because I am over 55, this financial assistance will be taken out of my estate after I die. So, this seems more like a home equity loan that I'm using to pay premiums.
I can opt out of the program, but I really can't afford to pay so much on a monthly basis. There is a cheaper option for $420 per month, but then I cannot afford the deductibles.
I feel that I am forced to accept this arrangement because Minnesota will not offer me any other option, but I was hoping to leave my house (it is the family farmhouse) to my daughter and I would hate to see her either lose it or be saddled with a huge debt due to premiums.
I realize that when I die, I probably won't care about the house anymore, but I don't want the government to force me into this arrangement. I took out Long Term Care Insurance when I was in my 40's and so it is quite reasonable. I did this to avoid my house being taken away for nursing home care and now I find myself having to deal with situation anyway.
Any advice?
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  John replied 6 months ago.
Your employer's insurance is not "affordable" in relation to your income under the Affordable Care Act - even with whatever subsidies you are receiving from the state. There are more affordable plans under the exchange - MNSure - and you'd get premium and payment (i.e., deductible and co-pay assistance) with those plans. But, open enrollment for those plans only occurs at the beginning of the year - November through January. You have to get insurance with the minimum coverage; we all do. So, your options until open enrollment are 1) stay with what you have until then, 2) Opt out of employer plan and go buy a cheaper plan and hope nothing happens until the new year (not a feasible option if you have a chronic and expensive to treat condition)
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
My real concern is that the State of MN will not offer me any other help other than what they are currently doing and they are going to take it out of my estate. How can I get affordable insurance without giving my house away?
Expert:  John replied 6 months ago.
I'm not quite sure why you have both employer coverage and medical assistance (i.e., medicaid), because it's duplicate coverage, but once you get on a regular MNSure (i.e. a bronze, silver, gold or platinum plan)plan you'll certainly no longer need medical assistance, and MNSure regular plans do not place liens on your estate. You may want to call Minn Health Care Programs now and cancel your medical assistance if you want absolutely no more liens -(###) ###-####or(###) ###-#### ***** suspect perhaps in the past you tried to sign up for MNSure and were told by your income you qualify for medical assistance, which you accepted. You didn't have to accept it. You can take the $ you are paying in premiums for your employer plan and get an acceptable MNSure regular plan and get tax rebates etc to help pay for the premiums and out of pocket costs. Again, you do not have to be on medical assistance, which is the cause your being liened.

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