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Diane Engel: Health insurance on the horizon

We’ve all heard about the commercials for MNsure with Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox for the health insurance exchange program. MNsure is not an insurance company but is a company where you can compare different insurance plans on an equal basis.

Everyone has many questions about the process: how to get signed up, how much it will cost and how affordable is it. If you have a computer, you can go onto their website,, and on the right side of the screen click on the FAQ tab. It will give you an overview and answers to common questions. The enrollment opened Oct. 1 and health plan coverage begins Jan. 1. You have many options for health plan coverage and some qualify for either a monthly or yearly tax credit for premiums. Some may qualify for either Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare, depending on income level. If you don’t have a computer, there will be places where you can sign up within the community starting this month, including the Bemidji Public Library.

For example, a typical 60-year-old living in Beltrami or Hubbard county, with an annual income of $15,282 or less, would qualify for Medical Assistance. If that person has an income between $15,283 and $22,980, they would qualify for MinnesotaCare. Persons with annual income between $22,981 and $45,960 would qualify for monthly or yearly tax credits to assist with the premium, with a cost range of about $79 to $429 per month, depending on the plan chosen. For income above $45,961, the cost would range about $121 to $429 per month. There are many different plans to fit your needs and budget. For more information, please visit or call (855) 3MNSURE, or (855) 366-7873. You can also contact

Internet Safety

Be cautious of scammers during this time of shopping for health care plans. If you get an email that is unsolicited, do not open it, do not give out any personal information and delete the email. Also, while shopping online, manually put in the address in the address bar on the top of the Internet page. Do not use any search engines to find them.

Thank You

Thank you to Norma Lindell and Bemidji Roofing for donating the repair to our roof during the storms this summer.

Wish List

The Senior Activity Center is in need of white copy paper, coffee, postage stamps and monetary donations. If you are able to donate, please drop by the front desk. It is greatly appreciated. You can receive a receipt for tax purposes.

Be sure to stop by the Senior Creations Gift Shop, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on the second Saturday of each month from 8 to 10:30 a.m. Check out what’s new or stop and buy a handmade card.

The Senior Activity Center is located at 216 3rd Street NW, Bemidji.

DIANE ENGEL is the executive director of the Senior Activity Center.