As its first key enrollment deadline nears, MNsure notified insurance agents Friday about five glitches that have snagged some users of the health exchange website.
“The number of consumers affected by each issue varies from a few dozen to a few hundred,” MNsure wrote in an e-mail distributed to insurance agents. “The majority of consumers applying and enrolling through MNsure will not encounter these issues.”
One error message tells users that MNsure can’t calculate the tax credit they should receive from the federal government to discount premium costs.
The tax credit problem first cropped up shortly after open enrollment started Nov. 15, and re-emerged at some point in the past week or so, said Joe Campbell, a MNsure spokesman.
It’s not an issue for users going forward, Campbell said, but MNsure is still working to help those who encountered the error message. He said that some of those affected are being told to go ahead and buy coverage without the tax credit, which will be provided later.
The number of people hitting such snags is smaller than the number successfully enrolling in coverage, Campbell said.
“Since the beginning of open enrollment, fewer people have encountered an error on our site than the number of people that enrolled in one day — today — on MNsure,” Campbell said Friday. “We had 3,000 people enroll in [private] health plans today.”
Minnesota launched the MNsure exchange last year to implement the federal Affordable Care Act, which requires almost all Americans to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty.
As of Friday, 15,748 people had enrolled in private health plans through MNsure for coverage starting next month. The goal for commercial insurance sign-ups for 2015 coverage is 67,000 people.
Monday is the deadline for MNsure shoppers who want coverage that starts Jan. 1. But open enrollment continues until Feb. 15. After that, people can purchase health insurance through MNsure only in certain circumstances.
People also use MNsure to enroll in public health insurance programs. There’s been a focus on commercial enrollment, however, because revenue from those sign-ups is meant to cover a growing portion of the health exchange budget next year.
About 6 percent of state residents buy individual health insurance policies, either through MNsure or directly from insurance companies. On Friday, Bloomington-based HealthPartners said it is extending the deadline to Dec. 31 for those who want to buy coverage outside the exchange for January.
“We want to make sure everyone has the time they need to select and enroll in a plan directly from us,” said Andrea Walsh, the insurer’s chief marketing officer, in a prepared statement.
Tax credits are available only for those who buy through MNsure.