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Continued: Minnesota lawmakers take their swipes at MNsure

  • Article by: JACKIE CROSBY , Star Tribune
  • Last update: January 10, 2014 - 10:02 AM

Beutner said it was not MNsure’s intention to come to the Legislature to ask for additional funds.

Current enrollment is running about 85 percent of the low end of projections at this point, Leitz said, but enrollment is expected to spike before the open enrollment period ends March 31. That’s when consumers will face fines if they don’t have insurance.

MNsure this week brought in Optum, a health IT services unit of UnitedHealth Group, at no cost to taxpayers. But it also is preparing to hire a dozen more operators for its call center, beef up staff to handle more paper applications and will consider hiring Optum for additional work.

Those steps have budget implications, Benson said, noting that MNsure’s forecasts suggest that it “loses money every year.”

“This organization has been given unprecedented latitude,” she said, “and it hasn’t worked out very well.”

Positive customer feedback

But not everyone is soured on the process. During the 3½-hour meeting, lawmakers heard stories from several consumers who had muscled through the process and were satisfied in the end.

Among them was Tessie Bundick, a self-employed artist. It took two community navigators to help get her through the site, but eventually she got a more comprehensive health plan at a better price. Today she’s upbeat and optimistic.

“In a year, when all the bugs are worked out,” she said, “I think people will be very happy with it.”

Jackie Crosby • 612-673-7335

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