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Waiting it out
Anticipating another ramp-up in volume as the sign-up deadline approaches, officials are discussing whether to open the MNsure website on Sundays. Consumers can research plan options around the clock, but they currently are only able to buy a policy between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Kirby Erickson, executive director of the state’s high-risk insurance pool, the Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association, said he had hoped that 22 percent of current enrollees would move out of the program by January, as it prepares to shut down next year. But he’s dialing back expectations because consumers, who rely on this safety net insurance program, are afraid to shop on the open market.
“It would have been higher but for the bad press the federal sites are experiencing,” he said. “More of our members are sitting tight.”
Connecticut’s Counihan said the consumer confusion is to be expected, and that implementation of exchanges will take three or four years.
“We have to be careful of drawing too many inferences,” he said. “It’s early in the game.”
MNsure’s Reich said the next couple of weeks are critical to both MNsure and the federal government. “We’d all like to have the federal exchange fixed,” he said.
Jackie Crosby • 612-673-7335