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Mediation Scheduled to Resolve Human Services Insurance Dispute in Minnesota

Tuesday, September, 17, 2019

Mediation has been scheduled for September to resolve the limits to which the 24-county health insurance alliance can serve clients at the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Counties still have the option of taking their dispute to litigation.


PrimeWest Health is the insurance provider in all of the counties, so all clients of human services are handled through the company. The counties have pledged to support continued single-source coverage, even if that means they will need to pay up to $100,000 for legal representation in the matter.


As it stands now, DHS action that would go into effect in 2020 would require clients be given a choice of three different health insurance plans. Human Services staff could not recommend one plan over another, even if they knew that one would benefit a client more.


According to the new rules, clients would be forced to sort through the information on their own.


The change was proposed despite Human Services being happy with what PrimeWest has offered over the years, which included direct county-based representation on its board. The company also returns funds when possible to local communities via grants.


PrimeWest could still be selected by clients, but since it is not single-source it might be forced to operate differently. There would be no income guarantee, so they might not be able to give back the additional funds.


The upcoming mediation will include a three-person panel that will give recommendations based on its findings during the process. The panel will include a member of DHS, a member of AMC, and a member of the Minnesota Hospitals Association. Everyone is hoping the dispute can be settled through the mediation process.