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MNsure 'stable, secure and successful,' interim CEO to tell Congress

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: April 4, 2014 - 5:26 AM

MNsure's interim CEO will tell a congressional panel Thursday that Minnesota’s online health insurance exchange is “stable, secure and successful,” according to an advance copy of testimony reviewed by the Star Tribune.

In testimony before two House Oversight subcommittees in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, interim CEO Scott Leitz will also acknowledge the exchange’s “rollout was rocky."

Mnsure is one of the six “problem-filled state exchanges” members of Congress will hear from.

Leitz’s testimony will focus on the story of Corey and Kate Needleman of Minneapolis and their three children. Rising health care costs forced the Needlemans to choose between paying their mortgage or health care bills.

Through the health care exchange, their three sons qualified for coverage with no premium or deductible from the state’s Medical Assistance program and Kate bought insurance for herself for less than $200 per month, Leitz’s will report.

In mid-January, consultants from United Health Group’s Optum division suggested it could take more than a year to fix Mnsure’s technical problems.

“Today, I am proud to say MNsure is stable, secure and successful. And because of our efforts, the Needlemans are just a few of 169,005 people in Minnesota who now have access to affordable, comprehensive coverage because of MNsure,” Leitz will tell lawmakers.

Letiz will also report that the insurance exchange will be financially sustainable starting in 2015, as required by law.

“I am happy to say that next year’s calendar year budget is balanced and does not seek additional state or federal funds to operate MNsure,” his testimony indicates.

MNsure officials said this week that they exceeded their goal for the initial open enrollment period with nearly 170,000 Minnesotans signed up for insurance coverage.

The total exceeds the 135,000 the agency set as a target last October, a few weeks before technical glitches waylaid the exchange website and call center.

But problems arose again Monday, leaving about 36,000 Minnesotans who tried to enroll with coverage as the midnight March 31 deadline passed

“In the longer term, we are in the process of selecting a “lead vendor” that will help MNsure assess the larger architectural software issues that were identified in the Optum report,” Leitz’s testimony reads.

“The goal is to not just make the 2015 open enrollment period a better experience for consumers, but to have a comprehensive roadmap for continuously improving MNsure and enhancing the exchange for consumers in every open enrollment period to come.”

Other state exchanges represented at the hearing will be California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts and Oregon.

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