About health care reform

What is health care reform?

The new health care law is often called health care reform. It's changing how we all get health insurance even if you haven't had health insurance before.

What’s changing?The law will happen slowly in several parts with the biggest changes in 2014. Here are some of the changes:

Most people must have health insurance
In 2014, most people must have health insurance. If you don't, you may have to pay a tax penalty. In 2014, the penalty for not having health insurance is 1 percent of your income, with a minimum penalty of $95.

Learn more about tax penalties ExternalLink

Guaranteed coverage
Now, everyone can get health insurance no matter how healthy they are. This means you can't be turned down or made to pay more for health insurance because you are sick or have a health condition. Most health plans must also cover essential health benefits . This includes care that helps prevent you from getting sick.

Help paying for health insurance
Depending on your income, you may be able to get help paying for your health plan. See if you can get help.

Find more help and informationHealth care reform can be hard to understand. Some parts of the law are still being developed. Here's where to find more information:

myhealthcarefuture.org ExternalLink

askbluereform.com ExternalLink


How health care reform affects you

Here are a few ways health care reform affects most Minnesotans:

  • Almost everyone needs to have a health plan in 2014
  • You can’t be turned down for a health plan if you have a health condition
  • Most health plans must cover medical services called essential health benefits
  • You may qualify for tax credits or financial aid to help pay for your health plan


Choose which fits you best

I do not have health insurance

You can buy a health plan directly from Blue Cross, or you can buy a plan through an online health insurance marketplace. Minnesota's health insurance marketplace is called MNsure.

When to buy a plan

Here are a few key dates to know:

  • Open enrollment: October 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014
  • Your health plan's start date depends on when you buy your plan
  • If you don't buy a health plan by March 31, 2014, you'll have to wait until the next open enrollment period, which is October 15 through December 7, 2014
  • Life events
  • There may be some situations in which you can buy a health plan after open enrollment. These special situations are often called life events or special enrollment periods. Some examples include the birth of a child, marriage and adoption.

Find out more about life events

Help paying for your plan

Based on your income, you might be able to get help paying for your health plan. See if you can get help.

What happens if you don't have a health plan?

You could be required to pay a penalty on your federal income tax. In 2014, the penalty is the higher of two amounts: $95 or 1 percent of your income.

Find a health plan from Blue Cross

I have health insurance

If you have health insurance through your job, you probably won't need to do anything. Most companies will continue to offer health plans to their employees, but you should check with your employer to find out for sure.

If you find you need help shopping for a health plan on your own, you can find a health plan from Blue Cross.

I buy health insurance on my own

If you're happy with your current health plan, you don't need to do anything. However, you may have new plans available to you. Your health plan will notify you about any changes to your current plan and if there are other plans available to you.

Based on your income, you may be able to get help paying for your health plan. See if you can get help.

I have Medicare

To learn more about Medicare, contact Medicare at 1-800-Medicare (800-633-4227) TTY 877-486-2048, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or visit  medicare.gov. ExternalLink

I have Medicaid

Please be aware that if you buy any other type of health insurance, you may no longer be able to get Medicaid. For more information, call Medicaid at 1-866-762-2237.




















How to buy a health plan

If you don’t already have a health plan, here are some ways to get help finding the right plan for you.

Call your agent or Blue Cross

Blue Cross offers affordable plans that meet the requirements of the health care reform law. We can also help you learn if you can get help paying for your plan.

To talk about your options, you can:

Visit MNsure health insurance marketplace

A health insurance marketplace is a website where you can compare plans from different insurance companies. The Minnesota health insurance marketplace is MNsure.org. ExternalLink You can find plans from Blue Cross on MNsure.