MNsure error rates improve

Published 10:19 am Thursday, February 13, 2014

By Jackie Crosby

Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Error rates have declined significantly on the MNsure website, the result of technical improvements to the website as well as a lull in consumers shopping on the site, according to data released Wednesday by the state’s health insurance exchange.

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The real test will come next month, as consumers are expected to flock to the site ahead of the March 31 end of open enrollment. Minnesotans who don’t have insurance by then could face a penalty under the Affordable Care Act.

The MNsure board of directors is expected to address the status of technical fixes to the website at its scheduled board meeting Wednesday. The agency also said it has now added 50 temporary operators to its call center, out of an expected 100 within two weeks.

MNsure interim CEO Scott Leitz said the “surge of help” will build on progress made in recent weeks to reduce wait times and get people through the system.

The system has an error rate of 4 to 5 percent, compared to a 12 to 15 percent failure at the end of the year.

“It’s still too high, relatively speaking,” Leitz said, but is a “sign of progess” that the sytem is much more stable heading into March.

Updated figures show that 92,498 people have used MNsure to buy health insurance, as of Feb. 8. About two-thirds of those getting coverage are enrolled through the state’s public health programs, Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare.

If those trends continue through March 31, it could impact the financing of the exchange, which must be self-supporting by 2015.

The MNsure operation is funded from a fee based on health plans sold to individuals buying private insurance.

The agency’s financial future was a key question by lawmakers at a morning meeting at the state Capitol of the MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee.

The board is expected to discuss the financial outlook as well.

MNsure to date has been funded with about $146 million in federal grants.

Distributed by MCT Information Services