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Aid groups say MNsure delays put them behind schedule

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It's less than two weeks before Minnesota launches MNsure, its ambitious new online health care marketplace, and the aid groups that are being paid to help the state get people enrolled are feeling squeezed by a tight timeline, MPR reports.

The state aims to eventually get as many as 1 million signed up for the new health care exchange, designed as a tool to allow easy comparison shopping for health plans, primarily for people who are not covered under an employer’s health plan and small businesses.

One key to the success of MNsure, which grew out of the federal Affordable Care Act, is getting a lot of people to participate. To that end, the state plans to lean heavily on a collection of groups, to be paid with federal grant money, to help drum up interest in the exchange and prod people to enroll. MPR News contacted the 30 groups getting grants and talked to leaders at 15, and most said MNsure delays had put their work behind schedule, so that they weren't yet adequately staffed, and workers weren't trained.

"If you don't provide the tools necessary to succeed – well, then, you're setting them up for failure," Ruby Lee, president of one of the groups, Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio, told MPR.

Meanwhile, the Star Tribune analyzes another key to MNsure's success: healthy 20-somethings. The newspaper notes that MNsure is "firing up an all-out marketing blitz," in part to woo young adults to participate. Having them in the pool is important because they are generally healthier, and they help support the less-healthy participants. But it can be tough to convince young "invincibles" that they ought to have coverage, the Star Tribune notes.

Minnesota Legislative Auditor James Nobles said he is worried about how quickly MNsure is being implemented, KSTP reports.

Gov. Mark Dayton has defended MNsure, even as the state’s legislative auditor announced it would investigate a data security breach at MNsure.

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