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CARE Clinic can help navigate MNsure

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news Red Wing, 55066
Red Wing Minnesota 2760 North Service Drive / P.O. Box 15 55066

The Red Wing CARE Clinic is now an official MNsure partner and has certified navigators available to help uninsured Goodhue County residents apply for coverage through the state’s health insurance marketplace, the organization announced this month.

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“Becoming a contracted MNsure partner allows us to serve our patients and community members, as we are able assist those who are in need of access to health care coverage and options,” clinical Director Julie Malyon said in a statement.

Three certified navigators will be on hand Tuesdays 4 to 8 p.m. during normal clinic hours, said Julie Hatch, one of CARE Clinic’s MNsure volunteers.

Certification involved a 20-hour education process for participants to learn about MNsure and the Affordable Care Act, Hatch said. The navigators also receive ongoing updates about the programs.

Patients coming into the CARE Clinic will first meet with a resource coordinator for a pre-screening to determine if they are eligible to sign up with MNsure, Hatch explained. They will then work with the certified navigators to explore available coverage.

Residents can make an appointment to meet with a navigator at the clinic without needing medical care, she added.

As part of its partnership with MNsure, the CARE Clinic also received a grant to provide education and community outreach. The clinic teamed with Three Rivers Community Action and the Workforce Development Center to host a MNsure enrollment fair Dec. 12.

So far Hatch said the number of people they have signed up for insurance is still fairly low, but that is largely due to ongoing technical problems with the MNsure website.

Fines or premiums

Short for community, access, resources and education, the CARE Clinic provides medical care and support services to low-income and uninsured county residents.

As more people are able to sign up for insurance through MNsure, Hatch said it could reduce the number of patients treated at the clinic — but she said it’s still too early to tell how much of an effect the marketplace will have.

“A lot of people will qualify (for insurance), but there will be some who still can’t afford it,” Hatch said, adding that some people will choose the fine for refusing coverage instead of paying monthly premiums.

The individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act requires most adults to have health insurance starting in January. Unless exempt, forgoing health insurance incurs a tax penalty of $95 or 1 percent of taxable income if that would be greater. The fine jumps to $325 per adult or 2 percent of income in 2015.

AmeriCorps volunteer Janine Foggia said the CARE Clinic will bridge care for people who have not yet signed up or are waiting for their new insurance to kick in.

The CARE Clinic will continue to provide dental and vision services that are not covered under all plans and help supply medication to those who cannot afford it, Foggia said.

“We will be here as long as there is a need.”

The CARE Clinic is located at 1407 W. Fourth St. in the former St. John’s Emergency Room. For more information, call 651-388-1022 or visit www.careclinicrw.com.

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