Project Care connects Minnesotans to health coverage

Project Care is an initiative of the St. Cloud office of Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid that provides free, one-on-one assistance to low-income Minnesotans in finding and enrolling in healthcare coverage in Central Minnesota. The primary goal of Project Care is to identify individuals who are eligible for enrollment in a public healthcare program, to assist them with enrollment, and to help them maintain that coverage without interruption so long as they continue to qualify for coverage. The project is generously funded by grants from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation and MNsure.

Project Care is staffed by a team of certified navigators who provide assistance in multiple languages, including English, Somali, and Spanish. Navigators help community members find and enroll in the health insurance program that is best for them and their family members including Medical Assistance, Minnesota Care, and private plans with tax credits to help lower the cost of monthly premiums. They can also help with enrollment in Minnesota’s Insulin Affordability Program. Everyone is eligible for help, regardless of income, age, or location. Project Care works with partners across the region to make connecting with a Navigator easier.

Securing medical treatment and health insurance for long-haul trucker

Darryl (not his real name) had worked as an independent long-haul truck driver his whole life. As an independent contractor, he did not have health insurance provided by an employer and had never been able to afford insurance on the individual market. When he was diagnosed with cataracts, he had no idea how he could afford the necessary surgery that would allow him to keep the job he loved. Sure enough, Darryl's commercial driver's license was soon suspended because he failed the eye test.

Darryl called Legal Aid and met with one of our Navigators, who explained that since he was not currently able to work, he should qualify for Medical Assistance. Darryl’s application was quickly approved, and he had the sight-saving surgeries that allowed him to resume work. He continued to work with the Navigator to transition to MinnesotaCare with a monthly premium he could afford. He left confident that, with insurance, he would be able to keep his job and handle any future medical issues that might arise.

Project Care assisted 4,237 individuals like Darryl during fiscal year 2020, which ended on June 30, 2020. Of these, Navigators submitted applications or annual renewals for 1,762 people. The estimated dollar value per family unit for this benefit is $9 million across all families and individuals. Navigators helped others in submitting required verification documents, responding to continuing eligibility notices, and reporting changes impacting their eligibility. They met with individuals at 16 separate locations across a 12-county region in Central Minnesota. They also provided information and education on healthcare coverage to 2,308 residents through 59 outreach events


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Minnesota’s Insulin Safety Net Program: MNinsulin enrollment information