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Minnesota health insurers waiving copays for coronavirus testing under some plans

Plus: Hagedorn hosts forum with USDA official on livestock illnesses; man who threatened Omar sentenced; Census kicking off Thursday; and more.

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Well that’s nice. The Star Tribune’s Christopher Snowbeck reports: “Minnesota health insurers are offering more details about how they will handle coverage related to coronavirus testing and treatment. … The answers still don’t say exactly what will happen with coverage in ‘self-insured’ employer groups where decisions are made by individual employers, not insurance carriers. … But for people in employer plans that are ‘fully-insured,’ more insurers are joining with government-funded health plans in pledging to waive copays for COVID-19 diagnostic testing.

COVID-19 not the only disease to worry about. The Mankato Free Press’ Tim Krohn writes: “Acutely aware of the economic devastation that foreign livestock diseases, particularly African swine fever, could inflict on agriculture, a federal agriculture official told local producers that more safeguards and rapid response plans are being put in place. … ‘The goal is to keep out what’s not here, and if it is here, to eradicate it, or if we can’t, to contain it,’ Greg Ibach, U.S. Department of Agriculture undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, told a group Saturday at the Minnesota Pork headquarters. … The visit was hosted by 1st District Congressman Jim Hagedorn, R-Blue Earth. He serves on the House Committees on Agriculture and Small Business. The discussion centered on swine fever but also touched on avian flu and foot-and-mouth disease.”

Sentenced. The Star Tribune’s Paul Walsh reports:A federal judge sentenced a New York state man to 366 days in prison for saying he wanted to kill Minnesota U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar. … Patrick W. Carlineo Jr., 56, of Addison, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Rochester on Friday after pleading guilty in November to threatening to assault and murder a United States official and being a felon in possession of firearms. … The Minneapolis Democrat submitted a letter to Judge Frank Geraci soon after the plea asking that he spare Carlineo a lengthy prison sentence for calling her Capitol Hill office early last year and threatening to shoot her in the head.”

Down for the count. MPR’s Jon Collins reports:Most Minnesota residents will have their first contact with this year’s census this week. The U.S. Census Bureau is sending out letters starting Thursday letting most residents know they can fill out the census questionnaire online. … About 80 percent of households will receive the letters, according to the bureau. The remaining 20 percent of households will receive a paper copy of the census form. Residents can fill the form out online even before they receive the letter. … Results from the census are used in a variety of ways, including to dictate legislative and congressional districts, said Minnesota State Demographer Susan Brower.”

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In other news…

Flying high:Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Named North America’s Best For 4th Straight Year” [WCCO]

Three-mile extension:Scandia makes case for extending popular Gateway Trail to their community” [Pioneer Press]

Closing:Radical nonprofit Boneshaker Books is closing” [City Pages]

Also closing:Mission American Kitchen, ‘power lunch capital of downtown Minneapolis,’ closes after 17 years” [Star Tribune]

Oglala Sioux Tribe:South Dakota tribe set to vote on legalizing marijuana” [KSTP]