New MNsure site fixes old problems but another arises

  • Article by: JEREMY OLSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 7, 2013 - 9:52 PM

Nearly 6,000 Minnesotans have created accounts on the exchange to buy health insurance.

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MNsure, Minnesota's health insurance exchange, launched on Tuesday,

Photo: Tom Wallace, Star Tribune

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Registration problems that prevented some Minnesotans from shopping for health coverage last week on the new MNsure website have been fixed, officials said Monday, but a new one has emerged.

While the new glitch is affecting fewer people and appears intermittent, it is preventing MNsure account registrations that are required before people can buy health insurance, said April Todd-Malmlov, MNsure’s executive director. She said anyone confronting the hurdle should wait a couple hours and try again. MNsure allows users to try to register up to eight times per day, then they have to wait 24 hours for security purposes.

Despite the latest glitch, Todd-Malmlov said the insurance website continues to draw interest. The site drew 4,300 unique visitors on Monday. Nearly 6,000 people have created MNsure accounts since the site went live last week and started offering health insurance as a state exchange under the federal Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare. Of those, 163 accounts were created by employers, who will presumably offer health ­coverage to their workers.

“People are getting through,” Todd-Malmlov said. “We are very excited to see the number of accounts ­increasing.”

Challenges remain. American Indians are still discouraged from using the site for now because of problems interfacing with federal databases to verify their unique eligibility for certain subsidies and benefits. Plans to keep the state site open 24 hours a day have been shelved for now as well.

Todd-Malmlov said she will release additional data Oct. 16 that will provide a first glimpse of how many people have actually used the site to buy health insurance and what types of plans have been popular.

MNsure is a state-operated online insurance exchange, created under the Affordable Care Act of 2010 in large part to provide health coverage to the estimated 490,000 uninsured Minnesotans — a group that includes young adults, low-income families, early retirees who aren’t yet eligible for Medicare, and workers who are self-employed or whose employers don’t offer benefits.

 

Jeremy Olson • 612-673-7744

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