Children's Health Insurance Expansions: State Experiences in Developing Benefit Packages and Cost-Sharing Arrangements. Minnesota


MinnesotaCare began as a private program in 1992. It was created by the MinnesotaCare Act, legislation that included a variety of laws aimed at reducing costs and expanding access to health care for the uninsured. In 1995, MinnesotaCare was approved as an 1115 waiver demonstration. Because the MinnesotaCare benefit package for children was already very comprehensive, the waiver had little impact on benefits for this population. The implementation of the waiver did, however, change MinnesotaCare's funding stream by making it eligible for federal matching funds. The program moved all AFDC-related families and poverty-related pregnant women and children into mandatory managed care. Phase I extended Medicaid coverage to uninsured families with children under 275% FPL, adding 100,000 more children. Phase II extended Medicaid coverage to uninsured low-income adults without dependent children. Children and pregnant women in the demonstration receive all benefits available to traditional Medicaid enrollees. On May 19, 1996, legislation expanded the income threshold for families without children from 135% FPL to 175% FPL. Families with children will still remain covered up to 275% FPL. Current program enrollment for children up to 21 years of age was 54,428 as of August 1997.