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DHS identifies, immediately corrects error in MinnesotaCare notices

Coverage unaffected for clients who renew through MNsure or by paper application

July 28, 2014

Martiga Lohn

PDF version of news release

The Minnesota Department of Human Services has identified an error in a MinnesotaCare notice and is taking immediate steps to correct the mistake and prevent it from happening again. Notices will be sent today to 8,765 clients who received the incorrect information, which was based on an old law that is no longer in effect.

“We sincerely apologize for this error and for causing any confusion among MinnesotaCare clients about their eligibility for coverage,” said Human Services Deputy Commissioner Chuck Johnson. “We want our clients to know that their coverage remains in place if they renew through MNsure by July 31, and we are moving quickly to prevent this from happening again.”

The incorrect information was included in a July 17 notice sent to a group of childless adults covered by MinnesotaCare. It stated that they would not be able to get MinnesotaCare for four months if their coverage were canceled for nonpayment. The waiting period to enroll in MinnesotaCare no longer exists under a new law that took effect this year.

This has not affected MinnesotaCare coverage for this group. However, these MinnesotaCare clients will lose coverage on August 1 unless they go to MNsure or fill out a paper application, as part of the process of converting public program cases from our legacy computer systems into the MNsure system. DHS has a unit that processes paper applications, with priority for these clients who are converting to the new system.

What happened
DHS is in the process of transitioning MinnesotaCare enrollees to the new eligibility system through MNsure. As part of this process, MinnesotaCare enrollees received a notice telling them that they must renew their health care coverage in MNsure. The notice includes instructions for how to renew their coverage online. These enrollees may also call to ask for a paper application to be mailed to them if they do not want to enroll online.

Enrollees who had not renewed their coverage by July 17th received a follow-up letting them know that their coverage will end July 31st if they do not apply on MNsure prior to that date. Some enrollees’ letters contained the following text in error:

“We have not received your MinnesotaCare payment for August 2014 coverage. If we get your payment by noon on the last working day of this month, coverage may continue if you are not closing for any other reason. If we do not get your payment, coverage will be canceled and you will not be able to get MinnesotaCare for four months. Call MinnesotaCare at the beginning of the fourth month if you want coverage again.”

This text is incorrect. 1) Clients do not have a payment due because they have not yet renewed their coverage in the new system; and 2) Clients are not disqualified from coverage for four months if they do not renew coverage by August 1st.

The error was caused by coding that caused the outdated language to be inserted into the notice, and was not caught before the printed notices were sent to clients. More thorough testing could have prevented this mistake from occurring.

The clients who received the erroneous notice are part of a group of about 14,000 MinnesotaCare clients whose cases are the first to be converted from DHS legacy systems to the MNsure system.

Actions DHS is taking
We are notifying all clients who received the incorrect notices in a mailing that will go out today, Monday, July 28. Also today, we are informing our partners, including counties and navigators, DHS staff, call centers and other communicators, and providing information they need to communicate with our clients about this issue.

We are working with MN.IT, which runs the legacy systems for our public program enrollees, to ensure that all future notices for MinnesotaCare clients contain accurate information about how to renew.

We will conduct an expedited internal audit to determine how this mistake happened and take appropriate corrective action.

What you need to know if you received a notice
If you are a MinnesotaCare client who received one of these notices, you will not be disqualified from coverage for four months if you do not renew coverage by August 1st. You do not have a payment due until you renew your coverage in the new system.

Please go to MNsure and complete an online application, or call for a paper application and submit it so that your coverage can be renewed in the MNsure system.

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