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MNsure worries keep governor awake at night

Posted by: Jennifer Brooks under Health care, Gov. Mark Dayton Updated: December 11, 2013 - 3:58 PM

Worries about Minnesota's new online health insurance marketplace are keeping Gov. Mark Dayton awake at night.

The state has just three more weeks to ensure the new MNsure site is ready for the Jan. 1 deadline to begin connecting thousands of uninsured and under-insured Minnesotans to health care coverage.

As many as one out of every five Minnesotans may eventually buy health insurance through MNsure, which is supposed to make shopping for health insurance cheaper and easier. But in the two and a half months since the site launched, it has been plagued by glitches, crashes and long waits for customer service.

“It’s, in my mind, past the point where these kind of snags should have been resolved," Dayton told reporters Wednesday, not long after he told a crowd at the Minnesota Association of Counties that MNsure is the one issue that keeps him awake at night.

"I’m mindful of how complicated the project is, and that we’re doing better than the federal government," Dayton said. But "we're three weeks away. I am concerned."

Dayton said he has "expressed my sense of urgency" to MNsure officials.

MNsure officials say they're doing their best to ensure the governor, and anyone else shopping for health insurance, rests easy. Although MNsure board chairman Brian Beutner says he's spent plenty of sleepless nights himself.

"It keeps me up at night as well, and I know it does the MNsure team, because I'm getting and emails and phone calls from them at midnight because they're literally working around the the clock."

About 25,000 people have enrolled in MNsure so far, including another 3,000 who signed up last week, he said. Buetner said the main focus now is on the 40,000 people who have set up profiles on MNsure, but have not yet picked out a plan or paid their first premium. The first plans go active on Jan. 1, but the open enrollment period runs through the end of March.

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