ST. CLOUD -- A number of people will see their insurance rates increase this year. According to a government report, the nation's health spending will increase by $3.35 trillion this year, which means every woman, man and child will pay around $10,345.

Stearns County Department of Human Service's Gateway Division Director Janet Goligowski says the increase isn't surprising considering the cost of premiums, health plan costs going up, hospital costs and the aging population. Goligowski says she would expect that the cost to the nation will continue to rise.

When it comes to residents living in Stearns County, prior to the Affordable Care Act  18 to 19 percent of the county's population were eligible for medical assistance. There has been a 9 percent increase with 27 percent of Stearns County residents being eligible for some form of public medical assistance through the affordable care act. The county however does not know the number of residents who are not insured if they don't apply.

One thing the county wants to clarify  is that there is no such thing as county assistance, health care insurance is a national program. Medical assistance has always been something that low income people are entitled to.

"What happened to what people locally refer to as Obama Care is that when the program opened the income levels for people eligible for medical assistance were expanded. So that more people were entitled to medical assistance where in the past there was control on that. It's often the case where people think the county is handing out assistance which is not true. Health Care assistance is all national says Goligowski

Now if you live in the  area and are in need of health insurance, the county is here to help you determine eligibility, but  does not have any responsibility for collecting or setting prices for insurance costs.

If you wish to drop off an application at the county you can but, for the most part everything is done electronically.

People are encouraged to apply online through the system MNSure. Once a person has applied, MNsure takes a person's information and puts it against the IRS, social security data base as well as a person's company that shows the persons work wages.

All the information gets correlated into one piece and gets analyzed against a persons household, size, what their family members consists of, whether there are people with disabilities in the home, and who's living and not living in the household. The information is then used to determine whether a person is eligible for insurance and what kind.

After that process is done, and if any additional information is needed, individuals will get a notification to talk to their county workers. The county workers then work with the individual to determine whether they are eligible for private or public insurance.

Eligibility is determined by your income level.