ST. PAUL -- State officials say a massive shift of low-income residents into new health care plans cost less than expected.

It's a byproduct of a statewide bid for the companies that cover enrollees on MinnesotaCare and Medical Assistance. The bidding is supposed to save the state about $450 million but also forced than 400,000 residents need to pick new plans for 2016. The state eliminated UCare, previously the largest company for public health programs, as an option in most counties.

The Department of Human Services previously pegged the costs at nearly $3 million. New figures released Friday show they'll spend roughly $1.5 million on the effort.

The department says less staff was needed to handle the transition. They saved nearly $500,000 on mail costs because few residents requested information packets.

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