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Almost 8,000 sign up for MNsure health plans in first week

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Almost 8,000 people have signed up for new or renewed health plans since the opening of Minnesota's health insurance exchange last Saturday.

The Association Press reports that 2,550 have used MNsure to enroll in new health insurance coverage, or renew their existing private health plan, since open enrollment got underway.

A further 5,300 signed up for the public Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare programs for lower wage earners.

MNsure's website and phone systems came in for heavy criticism during last year's open enrollment, with the website suffering glitches and the phone system buckling under the weight of demand.

But in the aftermath of last week's launch, MNsure officials noted that things had gone "much smoother", though MPR reported some people had experienced problems with loading pages on the website.

MNsure data shows that the number of people calling about health plans shot up to more than 5,000-a-day following open enrollment. Prior to last Saturday, the average call numbers was just above 1,000-a-day.

Last year, more than 200,000 people enrolled in health plans through MNsure, which was set up in the wake of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, which is designed to enroll people who previously couldn't afford insurance onto health plans.

In April, 95 percent of Minnesotans had health cover, the highest level on record.

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