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But in hindsight, Forsythe said he regretted not ramping up staff sooner.
“We should have put even more assets into the call center six weeks ago, five weeks ago,” he said.
Linda Quinn has found her experience with the call center exasperating, after her original application from Nov. 16 ran into a technical glitch.
A MNsure representative called to tell her he had deleted her application and that she needed to start over. She later received a letter in the mail saying her application was “pending” and that she needed to provide additional information, but the letter didn’t specify what kind of information.
Kicked off after 2 hours
She has taken time off work, spent hours on hold to the call center, and on Monday was kicked off after more than two hours.
“What is due diligence to have insurance?” Quinn asked Monday. “I still don’t have insurance.”
Officials sent out a list of tips on Monday to try to calm the nerves of people such as Quinn who are caught in limbo — and to divert traffic from an already overwhelmed call center staff. A new pop-up screen on the website provides a more prominent how-to section titled, “Before you apply and enroll.”
The message from MNsure: If you’ve paid, you are covered — even if you don’t have an insurance card. If you’re approved for a government plan under MinnesotaCare or Medical Assistance, you’re covered. And, finally, seek out other options — work with a community-based navigator or independent insurance broker, or contact the insurance companies directly.
More than 100 workers from IBM/Curam have been onsite for the past two weeks, trying to work through issues with its software, which is responsible for handling the application process and verifying whether people qualify for federal tax credit or government programs, such as MinnesotaCare and Medical Assistance.
Steve Korngable of Eagan may have been a beneficiary of the extra boost to the IT staff, which is coming at no added expense to taxpayers, state officials have said.
Korngable said he finally got enrolled on Sunday, after days of frustrations. Korngable said he had to re-enter application data three times, and when he tried to complete the transaction he got an error message saying the site couldn’t process his payment.
He said the experience has been “a complete disaster.” A call center operator finally was able to complete the process for him.
“I called them yesterday, the second they opened,” Korngable, 58, said on Monday. “I was told to uncheck a box you were supposed to check. Unbelievable.”
Jackie Crosby • 612-673-7335