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MnSure officials respond to critics of liens

ST. PAUL — MNsure leaders defended the health insurance exchange from criticism over liens filed against the estates of some Medicaid recipients — but acknowledged they could have done better.

Minnesota has for years filed claims against the estates of some older Medicaid recipients to recover the cost of their medical care. Traditionally, this affected only people in nursing homes, but the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act meant many low-income people were now subject to the liens for more routine medical care.

This has been a shock to some Minnesotans who signed up for Medicaid since 2013, who said they didn’t see warnings that their estates could be at risk when they signed up through MNsure’s website.

On Wednesday, MNsure CEO Allison O’Toole distanced MNsure from the affair.

“It really is a DHS, not a MNsure issue,” O’Toole said, referring to the state Department of Human Services, which administers Medicaid in Minnesota.

But MNsure board member Phil Norrgard said MNsure needs to “assume some responsibility” for the surprise some enrollees encountered about estate claims. He said MNsure is working with DHS to make the notice easier to see.

At least one lawmaker plans to introduce bills limiting when DHS can file liens against estates, the Forum News Service reported.


Shock and disgust as some Minnesotans learn of estate claims after signing up for MNsure