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MNsure urges customers to be careful signing up

ST. PAUL — Minnesotans rushing to meet the new MNsure signup deadline of next Tuesday should take a breath, slow down a bit and read directions.

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Officials of the state’s new health insurance sales website say mistakes like typing an extra space and inputting an entire middle name instead of just an initial are holding up some customers’ attempts to buy policies.

“The majority of MNsure users are able to sign up and enroll for a health plan on, but a significant number of people have run into problems with the website,” interim MNsure CEO Scott Leitz said. “Some of the problems people are facing are due to software issues that we are actively working on and will be resolving in the near future, but some of the issues can be resolved at the consumer level.”

Key to a successful MNsure application is to follow instructions carefully.

MNsure users need to have the latest Firefox, Google Chrome or Internet Explorer browsers. Other browsers and older versions may not work.

Also, MNsure does not work on smartphones or tablets, only desktop computers and laptops.

MNsure is a website that sells private companies’ health policies. Customers have a variety of plans they can compare and buy online. They also may seek out local helpers to get them through the process.

Questions may be answered at (855) 366-7873, although waits of up to two hours have been reported.

The call center was closed from 3 p.m. Tuesday through Christmas, but the website was to remain available. is available to compare and buy policies from 6 a.m. to midnight every day. The call center is open from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

While Dec. 31 is the deadline for getting insurance at the beginning of 2014, MNsure’s open enrollment period stretches to March 31.

The new deadline applies only to individual and family policies. Small businesses using MNsure to supply policies on Jan. 1 already must have bought them.

Gov. Mark Dayton said he has monitored MNsure’s progress since summer, but stepped it up when problems began to multiply this fall. He held a private conference call with MNsure officials Monday and plans another one Friday.

Problems that have concerned MNsure officials and politicians include a balky website and a call center with long waits. MNsure officials say both are being fixed.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.