Introduction to Health Plan Options - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Introduction to Health Plan Options

Health Plan Options was created by the Minnesota Department of Health - Minnesota Health Information Clearinghouse to assist you in exploring your health insurance options. One of the reasons you buy health insurance is to protect yourself from the high costs of medical care. In addition, some forms of health insurance make it easier to obtain care.

Today there are many types of health insurance and more choices than ever before. Health insurers offer a wide variety of products that vary by cost, level of benefits and providers. Health Plan Options provides examples of the kinds of questions you should ask and provides general information on the different types of insurance. Although the guides do not cover every scenario nor answer every question about health insurance, they are intended to give you a starting point to finding the health coverage you need.

Where to Begin

If you are thinking about purchasing health insurance, begin with the booklet "Guide to Purchasing Health Insurance." This guide explains available health insurance plans, describes the differences between the kinds of available insurance, offers tips for shopping for coverage, and provides a checklist for comparing plans.

Minnesota has three publicly funded health care programs. The "Guide to Minnesota's Public Health Care Programs" provides information about these programs and briefly discusses the requirements you must meet in order to qualify for each program.

The "Guide to Additional Health Care Resources" lists various programs or agencies that provide services in certain situations if you are unable to get coverage using the first two guides.

The "Glossary - Commonly Used Health Care Terms" provides definitions of some of the terms used most often in the health insurance industry. If you come across an unfamiliar term in the Health Plan Options guide, please check the glossary.

If you lose the health coverage you have through an employer’s group plan, the "How to Continue Your Health Care Coverage" booklet explains who may qualify for continuation coverage (COBRA) and how it works.

If you have a preexisting condition and are enrolled in a group plan, Minnesota Health Information Clearinghouse Frequently Asked Questions and Answers - Portability discusses your ability to obtain health insurance when changing jobs or applying for new health coverage.

In addition to these materials, we can provide you with information on Medicare supplement insurance, long-term care insurance, and many other topics.

For more information, contact the Clearinghouse:

By telephone:
(651) 201-5178 or 1-800-657-3793

By mail:
Minnesota Department of Health
Minnesota Health Information Clearinghouse
Health Regulation Division
85 East Seventh Place, P.O. Box 64882
St. Paul, Minnesota 55164-0882

By email:

By fax:
(651) 201-5186


Health Plan Options was created by the Minnesota Department of Health in collaboration with the Departments of Commerce and Human Services. The Minnesota Department of Health thanks everyone who reviewed and provided information for Health Plan Options.

Produced by the Minnesota Health Information Clearinghouse, Revised March 2014. If you require this document in another format, such as large print, Braille, or cassette tape, call (651) 201-5178 or 1-800-657-3793.


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Updated Wednesday, January 04, 2017 at 08:41AM