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MNsure enrollees pass 100,000 milestone

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News Worthington,Minnesota 56187 http://www.dglobe.com/sites/all/themes/dglobe_theme/images/social_default_image.png
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MNsure enrollees pass 100,000 milestone
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

JOHN LUNDY

Forum News Service

DULUTH — MNsure’s sometimes bumpy road has reached a milestone.

The state’s online health insurance marketplace has enrolled more than 100,000 Minnesotans, MNsure announced Friday.

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“Every Minnesotan enrolled in MNsure now has access to preventative care at no cost for things like immunizations and cancer screenings, and has the peace of mind that comes with knowing they won’t lose everything if they get sick or injured,” said Scott Leitz, the agency’s interim CEO.

Leitz acknowledged a disappointing performance in the early going for MNsure.

The website opened late — on the afternoon of Oct. 1 — and continued to leave would-be customers and insurance brokers frustrated for weeks. In Duluth, none of the navigators trained to help people enroll was certified when the marketplace opened.

April Todd-Malmlov, MNsure’s first executive director, resigned in December after being criticized for taking a two-week vacation in November during the height of the exchange’s difficulties.

But the news release said website and customer services have shown steady improvement during the past eight weeks.

Website errors have fallen from a high of 17 percent last fall to about 5 percent currently, the news release said. Call center wait times this week averaged between one and five minutes, compared with an average of an hour or more in late December.

The improvement is being noticed in Duluth, said Jenny Peterson, executive director of the Duluth-based Generations Health Care Initiative.

“The website is working much better than it has in the past,” Peterson said.

Navigators are still busy, but not as swamped as they were in December, Peterson said. Appointments can be made by calling the United Way 211 number. Information also is available at MNsure.org.

It’s expected that activity will pick up next month, as the March 31 deadline for open enrollment in private health plans approaches, Peterson said. She noted that enrollment in MinnesotaCare and Medical Assistance continues all year, as does enrollment for small businesses in MNsure’s SHOP program.

The total of 101,344 enrollments statewide was broken down as follows:

-- 31,088 in private health plans.

-- 21,574 in MinnesotaCare.

-- 48,682 in Medical Assistance.

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