The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

December 11, 2013

Dayton wants MNsure problems solved soon

MNsure double amount of workers at call center, thousands have signed up

ST. PAUL — Gov. Mark Dayton said Wednesday he is disappointed that problems with the state's health insurance exchange have not been resolved as the enrollment deadline nears for coverage to begin Jan. 1.

Dayton told a group of county officials that worries about MNsure keep him up at night. He elaborated later, saying he thinks the exchange should be working more smoothly by now, and that he has communicated his sense of urgency to its leaders.

"It's 2½ months now since it got started and, to my mind, past the point where these kinds of snags should have been resolved," Dayton said. The Democratic governor signed the legislation that created MNsure and appointed its board of directors, though the group is now autonomous from his supervision.

Last week, the executive director of the organization that represents Minnesota's largest insurance companies released a letter expressing alarm that some data the companies are getting from MNsure about enrollees still contain inaccuracies, omissions and conflicting information.

Insurers are worried the problems "will result in consumers not having coverage on Jan. 1," wrote Julie Brunner of the Minnesota Council on Health Plans. MNsure officials said they continue to work to resolve problems and have promised that anyone who completed the application process by the Dec. 23 enrollment deadline could count on coverage as of Jan. 1 even if technical problems prevent plans from being finalized.

Federal government data released Wednesday show Minnesota in the middle of the pack for private insurance signups under the federal health overhaul, with 4,478 people. However, federal officials say an additional 5,703 people signed up for Minnesota Care, the state's program for low-income people and families, through MNsure.

Overall, Minnesota has signed up people for public insurance at a faster pace. By the end of November, 20,108 people had signed up for either MinnesotaCare or Medical Assistance through the health exchange. Experts say private insurance enrollees are needed to make the federal health care law successful.

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