More than 15,000 Minnesotans have enrolled in health insurance via the state's MNsure health insurance exchange during the first six days of this year's open enrollment period.

Last year, it took about six weeks for MNsure to see that much enrollment activity, according to a news release Monday.

During the first two days of open enrollment, MNsure signed up mor then 8,700 people for private plans, so the per-day tally has dropped off a bit. But the drivers for early enrollment remain.

Due to enrollment caps, health plan shoppers have incentives to buy now, because most insurance options could disappear before the end of open enrollment Jan. 31. Plus, premiums are spiking by an average of 50 percent or more, meaning people have more reason to tap federal tax credits through MNsure.

The enrollment caps and premium spikes are an issue in the state's individual market, where about 250,000 Minnesotans buy coverage. They do not apply to employer plans or people in Medicare.

MNsure is an option for shoppers in the individual market, which serves people who are self-employed or don't get coverage through an employer.

Open enrollment started Tuesday, Nov. 1, with MNsure hit that day by long waits at the call center, technical difficulties at its website and a variety of complaints from consumers. MNsure officials say the call center waits are much shorter now, and there have been no more problems with the health exchange website.

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