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What you need to know about Minnesota health insurance premium subsidies

ST. PAUL—Eligible Minnesotans should start seeing discounts on their health insurance premiums in May, as part of a $310 million relief package signed into law in January by Gov. Mark Dayton.

State officials said Monday, Feb. 27, that the relief remains on track to arrive this spring as intended. Though the relief bill was passed in January, building computer systems to administer the relief isn't simple and will take insurance companies eight to 12 weeks from the late-January bill passage.

Here is what you need to know about the relief:

What it is

Discounts of 25 percent off the cost of monthly insurance premiums for around 120,000 Minnesotans. Insurance carriers will administer the discounts to their customers and be reimbursed by the state.

Who qualifies

To get the rebate, Minnesotans have to meet two conditions:

• Purchase and maintain health insurance on the individual market — not through an employer or a government program.

• Not receive federal premium subsidies that are available to people earning less than $47,520 for an individual, or $97,200 for a family of four.

There are no maximum income limits. The state subsidies are available to people who bought insurance through the state-run MNsure ( exchange, directly from an insurance carrier, or through a broker.

What eligible Minnesotans need to do to get discount

Nothing. The discounts should appear automatically on bills from insurance companies. But insurers and state officials both say Minnesotans must pay their bills in full rather than try to apply a discount themselves.

When discounts will start arriving

Most Minnesotans will see their discounts on bills they receive in April for May health insurance, Management and Budget's deputy commissioner Eric Hallstrom said Monday. That matches what insurers had predicted and what the January law requires. It's possible that some Minnesotans could see their discounts earlier, depending on their insurer.

What about the first few months of the year?

The discount is retroactive to the start of the year, even if Minnesotans won't see it until May. According to the Minnesota Council of Health Plans, retroactive discounts will likely be applied to future bills — so four missed months of 25 percent discounts would add up to a free month. It's possible that some insurance carriers could send out checks instead.

Whom to contact with questions

The state has published a guide to the premium relief at Minnesotans should contact their insurance companies with any additional questions about their rebate.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service