Minnesota-subsidized health plans, including Medicaid, will stop payments to hospitals and some clinics Friday if legislators fail to break a budget impasse. Minnesota subsidizes three safety net insurance programs -- MinnesotaCare, General Assistance Medical Care and Medicaid, called Medical Assistance -- that cover 600,000 people. The shutdown would halt $158 million in payments to managed care plans and $84 million to fee-for-service providers in July. Payments will be sustained to providers deemed critical, such as pharmacies, nursing homes, home health agencies, rural health clinics and community-based mental health providers, totaling $270 million in July.
Delayed payments will affect 22,000 fee-for-service providers and nine health plans, Minnesota's Department of Human Services said. "If there is not a resolution, we have made initial plans to continue critical services, but if a shutdown goes on for a longer period, we will be assessing impact on clients and providers and asking for changes," MDH Commissioner Kevin Goodno said in a prepared statement. Health plans will draw on reserves to pay for care until the state resumes reimbursement, said Eileen Smith, spokeswoman for the Minnesota Council of Health Plans. -- by Melanie Evans