MNsure officials have set an April 22 deadline for Minnesotans who indicated that technical problems prevented them from buying health insurance by the end of March.
The deadline applies only to those who filled out an online form alerting MNsure of their troubles, but hadn’t previously created an account on the new online health insurance exchange.
At least 8,200 people are known to be affected by the decision, according to a MNsure spokeswoman, but the number is expected to grow.
MNsure staff are working through forms filed by another 23,600 Minnesotans who indicated that they were having problems getting through the system but who may have started the enrollment process.
Those affected must enroll in a health plan by April 22 and then pay their first month’s premium to the insurance company by April 30. Minnesotans who fail to meet the deadlines will be locked out of coverage until 2015 and could face financial penalties under the federal Affordable Care Act.
MNsure began sending out e-mails to those affected on Friday.
The new deadline does not apply to consumers eligible for one of the state’s public programs, such as Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare, or to American Indians. They can get insurance coverage at any time.
Additionally, Minnesotans whose insurance changes during the year can enroll in a health plan if they experience a “qualifying life event” under the federal law. Such situations include losing or changing jobs, having a baby, getting married or divorced, moving to a new state or gaining citizenship.
More than 180,000 Minnesotans have enrolled in a health plan using MNsure, including about 47,700 in private health plans. About 95 percent of those enrolled have paid their first month’s premiums, according to MNsure officials.