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Commission to decide if MNsure needs in-depth audit

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A legislative commission will decide this week if MNsure should undergo an in-depth audit, according to media reports.

Minnesota's new online health insurance marketplace was plagued with glitches from the start. Although a change in leadership last December improved MNsure's operations, many questions still remain about the reason the site had so many problems, MPR News says.

Because of persistent issues, MNsure will spend the next several months retroactively enrolling thousands who were unable to get insurance last week, the Star Tribune says.

The Legislative Auditor's office has launched two limited examinations of MNsure, which will look at how the health exchange spent the more than $150 million in federal grants it received and the security of its website, MPR said.

MPR says the commission will decide Wednesday if the auditor should examine additional issues, which would include:

– To what extent has MNsure reduced the number of individuals without health insurance in Minnesota? Over 400,000 people in the state were without health insurance before the MNsure March 31 enrollment deadline.

– What led to initial enrollment problems and what additional costs did MNsure incur to address them? The majority of people who enrolled in the health insurance exchange did so in the last month before the deadline.

– Were outreach efforts, including marketing, effective?

– How does Minnesota's health exchange experience compare to other states and the federal government?

Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles told Politics in Minnesota that he thinks its likely the Legislative Audit Commission will call for a more in-depth investigation into MNsure, saying its on the short list of the commission's potential projects for the coming year.

The possible audit comes on the heels of scrutiny for health exchange programs nationally. MNsure interim CEO Scott Leitz and five of his peers from other state health insurance exchanges testified last week at a House committee hearing that was looking into problems with the federal health care law.

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