After 1 week: MNsure by the numbers - Bring Me The News

After 1 week: MNsure by the numbers

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Minnesota's new online health insurance marketplace is a week old, and Executive Director April Todd-Malmlov on Tuesday said about 30,000 Minnesotans checked out the website in its opening days, and roughly 6,600 Minnesotans have set up accounts.

She shared some other numbers:

– About 200 small employers had established accounts as of Tuesday.

– About 1,000 people a day are contacting the MNsure call center to get information, 1-855-366-7873

– Three separate glitches in the system have thwarted some users who tried to create online accounts

The first glitch was fixed; another problem emerged Monday and affected about 23 percent of users, Todd-Malmlov said, but she said a fix was expected by Tuesday night, the Pioneer Press reported.

Yet another problem involved Minnesota's Native Americans. MNsure officials had initially discouraged tribal members from using the site because it was having problems processing special provisions regarding eligibility for subsidies, MPR reported. But Todd-Malmlov said those problems have been fixed.

The Pioneer Press also reports that MNsure's rollout has been hurt by a lack of trained advisers called "navigators" who could help shoppers.

For now, MNsure is primarily geared toward roughly 490,000 uninsured Minnesotans, about 9 percent of the state, as well as small businesses that don't have good insurance options.

About 1 million Minnesotans are expected to use MNsure to obtain insurance. That number includes many now covered by the Medicaid and MinnesotaCare public health insurance programs, the Pioneer Press notes.

MNsure was established as part of the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, to provide a place for consumers to compare and buy health insurance policies.

The federal government runs a health insurance exchange at healthcare.gov for 31 states. Most of the other states, like Minnesota, run their own exchanges. Glitches with both the federal and state-run sites have been widely reported. Federal officials have been vowing that improvements are on the way.

"It started a little rockier than we'd like. It's better today than it was yesterday and it will keep getting better," U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in an interview with comedian Jon Stewart on The Daily Show.

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