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There are a lot of questions surrounding the new healthcare option MNsure, and Communicating for America is trying to help answer them.

Vice President of Government Relations Ben Schierer will be traveling to communities in the region, answering any questions the public may have about the program. 

“We’ve been active on a state and federal level, advocating for our members and all those purchasing their own insurance, so it was a natural fit when MNsure came out,” Schierer said.

Communicating for America is a member-based organization founded in 1972, which started as Communicating for Agriculture.

“It started as a small group of dairy farmers in west central Minnesota, and it’s grown over the years to tens of thousands of members all over the United States,” Schierer said.

It has grown from just agriculture to small business and self-employed members as well, mainly in rural America.

Advocating in various areas for members, they cover taxes, small business, agriculture policy and healthcare. That is where MNsure came into play.

When each state had the option of creating its own health insurance exchange, Minnesota chose to create MNsure. Communicating for America applied for a grant to be a navigator for MNsure.

Communicating for America isn’t trying to push MNsure, but rather inform people eligible for the insurance about what the state healthcare can provide.

“We want everyone out there to have health insurance. What we want to do is just give them as much information as we can so they have the information they need to decide if the exchange is right for them and their family.”

There have been glitches along the way for the MNsure program, but it’s to be expected with this large of a task, he said.

“So we’re racing to put all this stuff together,” Schierer said of the presentations he will be hosting throughout the region.

“First of all, we will have a series of 20 information meetings — 20 different communities in five regions.”

There will be a broad overview of the program — what options are available, what the requirements are to qualify, medical assistance, financial assistance, etc. — and then they will answer as many questions as possible.

“Once we do the initial meeting, then we will be in contact with all these people and give them as much information as we can. Then we plan on having a second meeting in the community, where those who need assistance enrolling, we can answer any more questions or provide any more assistance. The second meeting will be more one-on-one.”

The first meeting in Detroit Lakes will be Tuesday, Nov. 5, at 5:30 p.m. in the Detroit Lakes Library.

There is a three-week period — Oct. 28-Nov. 14 — where Communicating for America will hold these meetings throughout the region. The next few weeks after that, the second meetings will be scheduled as needed.

In order to start the health insurance Jan. 1, the participant must be enrolled by Dec. 15.

Other area meetings include Vergas (Oct. 30), Cormorant (Oct. 30), Frazee (Nov. 5), Perham (Nov. 6) and Pelican Rapids (Nov. 7).

“We want to give them plenty of time to get their questions answered and still have time to enroll,” he said.

To find out more about the program, visit

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.