WILLOW RIVER, Minn. - Some Minnesota families are calling out MNsure. They thought the healthcare plan they signed up for would save them money.
But they say, as it turns out, it will leave their children liens worth tens of thousands of dollars.
And they say those real costs - weren't disclosed to them at first.
Rick Rayburn and his friends are suffering from a severe case of sticker shock.
“Disbelief. Just absolute disbelief,” Rayburn said.
The Pine County residents thought the Affordable Care Act could save them money.
They looked for a new health insurance plan on the state's MNsure website.
“I'm not the person looking for something for nothing. I'm looking for a reasonable price,” Rayburn said.
Despite owning land and homes, their income and ages made them eligible for Medical Assistance -- Minnesota's version of Medicaid. They were told his monthly premium would be zero.
“Getting it for nothing did not sit well,” Rayburn said.
Then his friend Scott Killerud said he read on a mailer that it was too good to be true. Anyone over 55 on the low-income plan who owns property will pay. Eventually.
The state is picking up the tab now. But their children will have to pick up the tab after they die, in the form of liens. There would be no bill for the children if their parents have no assets in their estate, such as land, a home or retirement accounts.
Rick asked the Minnesota Department of Human Services what his kids would owe.
“Called them up and they were more than happy to tell me we owed them more than $30 thousand,” Rayburn said.
Scott's children will owe $11 thousand. And the children of Julie Gelle from Sandstone will owe $16 thousand for less than two years of coverage she never used.
“I did not go to the doctor once,” Gelle said.
After the Duluth News Tribune and several local papers featured their stories -- these folks started hearing from dozens of strangers who say they weren't informed of the estate claims either.
“They have no clue. No clue. And a lot of the amounts are astronomical,” Gelle said.
“The smallest one we've seen is about $6600. The highest one we've seen tops $80 thousand,” Rayburn said.
The Department of Health is adamant the estate claims are nothing new. And showed KARE 11 they've now added a warning to the MNsure application.
But now these families want to warn others.
“There is an air of, we won't say deceit, but it is not full disclosure upon signup,” Killerud said.