Anyone needing coverage on Jan. 1 must buy coverage on Tuesday. The help desk has been overwhelmed and the web site remains difficult for many consumers to navigate. Here are some tips to ensure that your are covered.

• Determine whether you qualify for a tax credit.

If you are not sure, check the Kaiser Family Foundation's calculator at

To receive financial help, you must purchase insurance through This includes accessing tax credits to lower your monthly premiums and enrolling in MinnesotaCare and Medical Assistance.

• Find a community navigator or independent broker.

If you qualify for financial help and don't feel confident shopping online, use the MNsure website to find a certified broker or community-based navigator.

• Buy directly from the health insurer.

If you don't qualify for subsidies, avoid the MNsure crush and go directly to the private health insurers, which operate their own websites and call centers. More details are available from the industry group's website at

• Check out MNsure's tips.

If you want to shop MNsure on your own, read the agency's tips on the bottom right side of the home page.

• Avoid the MNsure help desk.

If you're still stumped, call the help desk at 1-855-366-7873, but prepare for a long wait. If you've taken all the right steps — created an account, selected a plan, paid your premium — but haven't heard from your insurance company, sit tight. Insurers are working through a backlog to get insurance cards and packets to new members.