ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A Minnesota judge has denied an insurance company's attempt to halt public health care registration as it fights to win back a key state contract.

Ramsey County District Judge Robert Awsumb denied UCare's request for an injunction Thursday.

UCare sued the state last month after losing in a competitive bid for a contract to cover low-income residents. The company argued the state cut it out arbitrarily and asked the court to halt a registration period set to begin Friday.

The judge says the state and other health insurance companies need time to prepare to shift UCare's estimated 370,000 customers to new plans.

UCare's lawsuit seeking to restore its public program provider status could still head to trial. UCare says it's disappointed but will keep working to win back its contracts.