Local View: Stay ready, look for blue dot during Medical Assistance renewal time

From the column: "Inevitably, some will miss their renewal and lose coverage. There are things you can do to make sure you do not lose coverage."

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Megan Halena

Since March 2020, renewals for Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare have been on hold, as have “adverse changes,” due to a federal “continuous coverage requirement.” That means people have maintained their coverage, which has been important for combatting the pandemic.

The continuous-coverage requirement has now ended, and earlier in May the first batch of Medical Assistance renewal notifications went out. Renewals will continue on a rolling basis through June 2024.

Most of the 28% of the community enrolled in Medical Assistance will need to take action in the coming year to avoid losing coverage.

Because these programs cover more than a quarter of people in our area, the restarting of renewals and the return to processing changes are the biggest things to happen with health insurance since the passage of the Affordable Care Act. There are challenges ahead with making sure renewals are received, completed, and returned.

Inevitably, some will miss their renewal and lose coverage. There are things you can do to make sure you do not lose coverage.


Since renewals are “rolling,” your neighbor might get their notification at a different time than you get yours. It is possible to find out your renewal month by calling the county, and there should soon be an online lookup tool at .

The other important thing to do is make sure your address is up to date — and to watch your mail! All renewal notices will be sent by mail and will have a blue dot on the envelope indicating “important information.”

Once the renewal notification comes, it is important to complete and return it as soon as possible. There will be some “auto renew” cases, but most people will need to take action to keep coverage.

There is free navigator help for completing renewals. Getting help is a good idea. Find navigator information at . There is also walk-in help at the downtown Duluth Public Library every Thursday from noon to 6 p.m. and at the Government Services Center on Mondays from noon to 4 p.m.

If, after completing your renewal, you or your family are determined to be no longer eligible for the program you’re on, navigators will be able to help you understand what your other coverage options are.

Remember, there is free help and ways to make sure you don’t have a coverage gap. Stay ready!

Megan Halena is the program director for Generations Health Care Initiatives ( ) in Duluth. She wrote this for the News Tribune.

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