The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

September 30, 2013

MNsure won't be ready to go Tuesday morning

(Continued)

Also, she said American Indians, many of whom qualify for special subsidies under the law, should wait a week before signing up because that part of the system isn't working properly.

MNsure has been under scrutiny as its launch approached, coming under fire for a data security lapse as well as criticism for failing to include groups that work with minority communities in its initial plan for distributing federal grants to organizations that will aid in finding and enrolling the uninsured. On the positive side, MNsure boasts the lowest average premiums nationwide on three types of health plans offered under the overhaul.

Exchange officials aren't expecting problems should the federal government be partially shut down, but Todd-Malmlov couldn't promise they won't hear differently Tuesday from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Consumers who visit the MNsure website Tuesday morning will see a message telling them to try back later, she said. MNsure's call center will be open for answering questions but operators won't be able to enroll people until the system launches.

Once that happens, residents will be able to shop for insurance plans, open accounts, determine if they're eligible for financial assistance and sign up for coverage that will take effect Jan. 1. While consumers are required to have health insurance policies by then or pay penalties, Todd-Malmlov noted that open enrollment for the first year's coverage will run through March 31.

Todd-Malmlov said MNsure expects "a lot of interest in the site" Tuesday, but "we don't anticipate there will be a lot of enrollment in the first two weeks."

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