Dayton admits to worries over MNsure issues

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Gov. Mark Dayton said Wednesday that his worries about MNsure – the state's new health insurance exchange – are keeping him up at night, the Star Tribune reported.

MNsure coverage is scheduled to begin Jan. 1. However, since enrollment for the exchange launched began Oct. 1, the MNsure website has been troubled by glitches, crashes and long wait times for customer service.

"It's 2 1/2 months now since it got started and, to my mind, past the point where these kinds of snags should have been resolved," Dayton told reporters after a meeting with officials with the Minnesota Association of Counties.

And while he noted the MNsure site was experiencing fewer problems than the federal government's healthcare.gov website, Dayton said he's still "concerned."

MNsure was established in connection with the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obama­care.

Minnesotans have until Dec. 23 to sign up for coverage if they want to be covered when policies take effect Jan. 1. Officials told the Star Tribune that the site expects a volume surge as the deadline approaches.

The Associated Press said that those who complete the application process by the enrollment deadline will be covered as promised on Jan. 1, despite any technical issues that may prevent plans from being finalized.

According to the Star Tribune, 71,579 people have completed applications for coverage, but only 24,586 of them have gone through the full process of picking out a plan and setting up a payment. Of the total, 48,724 are seeking coverage from private insurers, while the rest of the applicants are looking for coverage through state programs MinnesotaCare and Medical Assistance.

Uninsured people who fail to sign up with MNsure by Dec. 23 won’t face penalties until March 31, the paper said. At that point, uninsured consumers will be require to pay a penalty of $95, or 1 percent of taxable household income, whichever is greater.

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