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Continued: Dayton slams IBM for failures with MNsure website

  • Article by: JACKIE CROSBY , Star Tribune
  • Last update: January 4, 2014 - 6:48 AM

He said the company’s software was unable to verify eligibility of MNsure customers for Medicaid and other public programs. He said it was making determinations for emergency Medicaid without the state knowing about it, and said MNsure’s own requirements for this program were never fully implemented or tested.

At the time the letter was written, consumers trying to enroll in a health plan on the MNsure site found that their applications were stuck in “pending” mode. Thousands of applications were delayed or didn’t show up for the call center staff or caseworkers.

In late November, state and county officials were forced to double-check up to 40,000 applications to determine if people were incorrectly denied premium subsidies or coverage on public programs. About 1,000 consumers were ultimately notified that they were denied tax credits they should have gotten.

Dayton noted that, during MNsure’s procurement process, IBM represented that its software product was “90 percent complete and ready out-of-the-box.”

“We now know that the product is still not 90 percent complete in December of 2013,” Dayton wrote, “and that your product has significant defects, which have seriously harmed Minnesota consumers.”

On Friday, interim MNsure CEO Leitz said he was encouraged by the system’s ability to handle the amount of people it did during the few days ahead of Tuesday’s deadline for initial enrollment.

“Even amid all the challenges of the last few weeks, many thousands of Minnesotans are taking action to benefit from lower insurance premiums and better coverage terms,” he said in a prepared statement. “Our job in the weeks ahead will be to make it easier for more people to do the same.”

Open enrollment continues through March 31, when consumers without coverage will face penalties under the Affordable Care Act. They also will not have another opportunity to buy health insurance until fall, even if they want it before then.

 

Jackie Crosby • 612-673-7335

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