Need help paying for your plan?
No matter your income, we have a plan for you.
If you’ve lost your job or find yourself with no health insurance, UCare’s people power is here to help. We will sort through the details and find a plan that fits your family’s health needs and budget.
We’ve been helping families like yours since 1984. Doctors created UCare as a pilot project at the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health to help low-income and underserved populations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where to start
I lost my job and cannot afford COBRA. What do I do first?
A good first step is to apply for health coverage on MNsure. You can get a health plan not tied to your employer and apply for financial help to pay for that plan.
I purchased a health plan directly through an insurance company and not through MNsure. My household income recently dropped due to a reduction in my work hours. Is there anything I can do before open enrollment period in November to purchase lower-cost insurance now that my situation has changed?
If you have been enrolled in a health plan for at least one of the last 60 days that provides minimum essential coverage and was purchased outside of MNsure, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if your household income has decreased to where you would qualify for an Advanced Premium Tax Credit. APTC is a form of financial aid available through MNsure to help reduce your monthly plan premium costs.
To find out if you may qualify, contact the MNsure Contact Center at 651-539-2099 or 1-800-366-7873.
Because verification of a decrease in household income is required to determine eligibility, it’s important to wait until the day after your income reduction takes effect before enrolling.
When do I have to apply?
Minnesotans can sign up for a plan on MNsure anytime they have a qualifying life event. You must apply within 60 days of a qualifying life event:
- You or your dependent loses employer-sponsored coverage
- Your COBRA coverage comes to an end
- There’s been a change to a dependent’s status, such as turning 26 years old and losing coverage through a parent’s plan
- Your household size changes because you got married, had a baby or adopted a child
- You lose private health coverage enrolled in through MNsure due to divorce, legal separation or death
- You lose coverage in Medical Assistance (Medicaid) or MinnesotaCare
- You lose other government-sponsored coverage
- You gain citizenship status making you newly eligible for a qualified health plan
- You made a permanent move to Minnesota from elsewhere or within Minnesota to a new county or zip code
- You were released from serving a term in prison or jail
If you are applying for coverage through an “Off-MNsure Plan and Income Decrease” qualifying life event, you’ll need to wait until the day after your household income reduction takes effect before enrolling.
What financial help is available?
Depending on your current income and family size, you may qualify for financial help. Most Minnesotans qualify for some financial help.
Types of financial help:
- Advanced Premium Tax Credits (APTC): Helps reduce your monthly health plan premium costs. See if you qualify.
- Cost-Sharing Reductions (CSRs): Helps reduce out-of-pocket costs like deductibles, co-insurance and copayments. Learn more.
- MinnesotaCare: Pays for medical services with members paying a monthly premium based on income. See if you qualify.
- Medical Assistance (Medicaid): Pays for most covered healthcare costs for eligible people. See if you qualify.
For more details on income guidelines, visit MNsure.
How do I get financial help?
To get financial help, you must first apply on MNsure. After completing your application on MNsure, you will be notified of any financial aid you qualify for. If you are eligible for Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, your county or tribal agency will be in touch to complete the enrollment process.
If you are eligible for a private health plan with Advanced Premium Tax Credits (APTC) or Cost-Sharing Reductions (CSRs), you will be able to complete the enrollment process online with MNsure.
If you are applying for coverage due to an “Off-MNsure Plan and Income Decrease” qualifying life event, please contact the MNsure Contact Center at 651-539-2099 or 1-800-366-7873 to find out if you may qualify.
I am on an individual plan, but my income dropped. How do I find out if I qualify for MinnesotaCare or Medical Assistance (Medicaid)?
Contact MNsure and let them know about your change in income. They can help you get on the right plan. Find out more about reporting an income change.
What do I need to apply?
To make completing your MNsure application easier, you'll want to have:
- Social security number for each person applying
- Date of birth for everyone in household (not just those applying)
- Driver's license, Tribal ID or other ID
- For non-citizens, Green Card or other immigration documents
- Last year's 1040 tax form for each person applying
- Two most recent pay stubs for each person applying
- Documents for other sources of income for each person applying
- W2 form or Employer Tax ID Number (EIN) for each person applying
- Employer's address and contact information for each person applying
If applying for coverage under an “Off-MNsure Plan and Income Decrease” qualifying life event, you will need to supply verification of the income decrease (e.g., paystubs, etc.) and proof of previous health insurance coverage in addition to the items listed above.
For a complete list of what you'll need to complete your MNsure application, visit MNsure.
When does my coverage take effect?
For most qualifying life events, coverage starts the first day of the month following the date when you selected your plan—but not before any other health coverage ends. If you’re losing employer-sponsored coverage through a job loss, you can contact MNsure up to 60 days in advance of your coverage ending to begin the enrollment process to avoid a gap in coverage.
For the “Off-MNsure Plan and Premium Decrease” qualifying life event, the start date for coverage is dependent on when you apply through MNsure and select a plan. If by the 15th of the month, your coverage would begin on the first of the subsequent month. If the 16th or later, your coverage would begin on the first of the month – but one month out. For example, if you applied May 16, 2020, your coverage would begin July 1, 2020.
Monthly premiums must be paid to the health plan to ensure continued coverage. Many health plans require payment by the 20th each month.
Choosing a plan
What is the difference between an individual plan, MinnesotaCare and Medical Assistance (Medicaid)?
Individual plan – If you don’t qualify for a MinnesotaCare or Medical Assistance plan, you can enroll in a UCare Individual & Family Plan. We have a wide range of plan options, including HSAs, with varying levels of premium and cost sharing. Our Bronze and Silver plans are the lowest cost plans on MNsure, and we have one of the largest provider networks. Plus, there are options available to help pay for an Individual & Family Plan, including tax credits or cost-sharing reductions described above. Enrolling in a plan on MNsure is the only way to take advantage of these financial aid options.
MinnesotaCare – MinnesotaCare is for people who make less than 200% of the federal poverty guideline, which is about $51,500 per year for a family of four. Most MinnesotaCare members receive their coverage from a health plan like UCare. Members will pay a monthly premium plus copays for covered health care benefits. Premiums are $0 to $80 depending on your income. MinnesotaCare covers the same types of services that are covered by an employer-provided health plan. And with UCare you will have access to a large network of providers.
Medical Assistance (Medicaid) – Medical Assistance (MA), is Minnesota’s Medicaid program. This program is for people who have income that is less than 135% of the federal poverty level, or about $34,247 per year for a family of four. The program pays for most of your covered healthcare costs for eligible people in your household. Most people are responsible for small copays for covered office visits and prescriptions. Medical Assistance health plans like UCare waive the monthly Medicaid Assistance deductible (the amount you must pay before your plan kicks in) which saves you money. Most people get their Medical Assistance benefits through a health plan like UCare.
UCare’s MinnesotaCare and Medical Assistance plans gives you added benefits like:
- A large network of providers, including Park Nicollet, MHealth Fairview, Allina Health, Essentia Health, CentraCare, Sanford Health and Mayo Health System
- Save up to $50 a week at participating grocery stores when you buy select healthy foods in the store.
- Transportation for eligible members
- Free car seats for eligible children up to age 8
- Free quit smoking program
- Access to health and wellness programs and tools
How do I know what type of plan is right for me?
MNsure will use your income to determine your health plan (individual and family plan, MinnesotaCare or Medical Assistance) eligibility. Depending on what county you live in, once MNsure determines your eligibility, you will be able to choose a health plan like UCare
I am eligible for an individual plan
If your application indicates you are eligible for an individual and family plan, consider the provider network and what amount of monthly premium and out-of-pocket costs that fit in your budget. Would you prefer a lower monthly premium with a higher deductible, or would you would prefer a higher monthly premium with a lower deductible? Or, something in between?
You also may want to consider whether an HSA-compatible plan is a good fit for your situation. This type of health plan is UCare’s lowest cost plan and allows you to use dollars in your Health Savings Account to pay for eligible medical expenses and enjoy tax savings. If you have dollars left in an HSA you opened with an employer plan, you may use those dollars to fund future health care costs that meet IRS requirements.
It’s also important to check whether your doctors or other health practitioners are in the plan’s network. You’ll typically pay quite a bit more if you visit an out-of-network provider. UCare’s Individual & Family Plans have one of the largest networks, including Allina Health, M Health Fairview and Park Nicollet and you can sign up for one right on MNsure. Find out more.
I am eligible for MinnesotaCare or Medical Assistance
If you are eligible for Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare, the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), your county or tribal agency will be in touch to complete the enrollment process. When completing the process, you may have the opportunity to choose a health plan like UCare. In most counties, you will have a choice of plans. However, some counties are served by only one health plan. Watch your mail for a letter on choosing a health plan. We hope you choose UCare.
If I have a Health Savings Account (HSA), can I use that money to pay for medical expenses?
Any money you have in a Health Savings Account rolls over year-to-year and is “portable” – meaning it goes with you wherever you go – no matter the health plan you’re on, including MinnesotaCare and Medical Assistance.
You can use the money already in the account for eligible medical expenses, including doctor, telehealth and online/virtual visits, lab fees, prescriptions, dental and vision care and any copayments for these visits. You can’t pay your monthly health plan premium with your HSA account. And you can’t contribute money to the account once you no longer have an HSA-compatible health plan. Learn more.
Due to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, you can now use your HSA funds to buy over-the-counter medications and feminine care products without a prescription. These changes are retroactive to Jan. 1, 2020.
Who can help me pick a plan?
We know choosing a plan can be a complicated process. We are here to help.
We’re here to help
Need help finding the plan that’s best for you?
Call a UCare representative at 1-855-307-6975 or (TTY 1-800-688-2534; NO ENGLISH 1-800-203-7225) Monday – Friday,
Call MNsure at 651-539-2099 or 855-366-7873 (TTY 1-800-657-3704), Monday – Friday,