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Got health insurance? Final push as Sunday's midnight deadline approaches

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Sunday finds MNsure in the midst of its final push to sign up Minnesotans for health care before the midnight enrollment deadline. WCCO reports the state-run insurance exchange is open for last-minute sign ups.

MNsure has extended its hours Sunday from 8 a.m. until midnight to help get people enrolled. MNsure employees are responding to individual tweets on its Twitter account for enrollees who have questions about the process.

A portal on MNsure's website lists places around the state that are open on Sunday that are holding outreach events to provide assistance to those who are signing up.

On Friday, the Star Tribune reported that the state's exchange was still about 17,000 sign-ups shy of its goal for private coverage during the current open enrollment period. That's despite aggressive outreach efforts; the Associated Press reports MNsure hosted more than 250 sign-up events in the last week of enrollment.

The state-run insurance exchange will be closed come Feb. 16 (that’s next Monday), and anyone without a plan at that time – whether it’s through MNsure, an employer, or public assistance – could pay a fine. The penalty for those who are not signed up. Those without health insurance could be fined by $325 per adult (and $162.50 per child under the age of 18), or 2 percent of their yearly household income, whichever is greater.

The Northlands News Center notes that the number of uninsured has fallen since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

"We reduced the uninsured in Minnesota by one hundred and eighty thousand individuals," State Sen. Tony Lourey, one of the architects of MNsure, told the Duluth TV station. "That is a forty percent reduction in our rate of uninsured. It is actually tremendous progress."

Enrollment is open year-round for Minnesotans who qualify for Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare.

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