Updated:
Original:

'Failures outweigh achievements': An auditor's scathing verdict on MNsure

Author:

In a scathing report on MNsure's performance in its first year, the state's legislative auditor says the failures of Minnesota's health insurance exchange outweighed its achievements, and has called for sweeping changes to the way it's managed.

The launch of MNsure in 2013 was beset by technical glitches that frustrated consumers trying to sign up for health plans.

Now, in a review of the exchange's first year, it is slammed by the Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor, which has called for greater government involvement following a series of failures.

Those failures include:

  • Failing to adequately test the website before launching it, and only seeking "limited advice" from experts at Minnesota's state IT department despite several "red flag" warnings that the launch would not go well.
  • Staff withholding information from MNsure board members and other key officials about the site issues prior to its launch.
  • Setting itself (and achieving) a target for the number of people it wanted to enroll on health plans that was "seriously flawed," and actually should have been much higher.
  • And failing to provide adequate customer service through its call center, which resulted in customers being bounced back and forth between staff.

Changes needed at board level

The report calls for certain powers to be taken away from the MNsure board, noting it is given more control and autonomy over decisions than many other state departments.

The auditor's office says Minnesota's senators and representatives should consider making the MNsure Board purely advisory. That would mean handing over its managerial responsibilities to an administrator the governor appoints – someone who would then be directly accountable to the governor.

"In our view, an agency with MNsure’s impact and visibility should be directly accountable to the governor. There is some precedent for an agency having both a governor-appointed administrator and board (for example, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency), but the Legislature should consider what future role it wants the MNsure Board to play."

It also advises that MNsure's enrollment process should be overseen by the Office of Minnesota IT Services.

Any positives?

It wasn't all negative.

The auditor did say that most of the 371,000 people who used MNsure to sign up for health insurance were happy with their coverage.

But were frustrated by the lengthy waiting times and glitches that delayed them from signing up.

Next Up

moose minnesota usfws - flickr

MN homeowner mistakes large tent for dead moose

They spotted two people on a security camera dragging the "moose" across a driveway.

Flickr - minneapolis police officer close-up belt camera - Tony Webster

What happens if Mpls. public safety question passes? City memo provides answers

The memo was sent to the mayor and council members Tuesday morning.

Wild

COVID-19 hits Minnesota Wild coaching staff

The Wild will be shorthanded for Tuesday night's game in Vancouver.

Anthony Edwards

Ant takes alpha role after bad loss: 'We need to lock the f*** in'

The Timberwolves' rising star was not happy after Monday's loss to the Pelicans.

parker eisinger

Lakeville football player diagnosed with cancer week before playoffs

The tenth-grader was diagnosed with a form of cancer most commonly found in people aged 65 and older.

University of Minnesota peeping tom suspect

Someone keeps trying to film showering women at U of M

The university has received three reports in the past two weeks.

john Fluevog shoes 1

John Fluevog Shoes closes its Uptown Minneapolis store

The brand could return to the Twin Cities one day.

sidecar drink

Sidecar — Town Hall's new cocktail lounge — is officially open in Minneapolis

It's the fifth Town Hall location, but the first to focus on cocktails.

Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 9.10.30 AM

Here's where DFLers stand on Minneapolis' public safety ballot question

The question would create a Department of Public Safety and remove some requirements.

Arthur Kollie

Man pleads guilty to brutal murder of 14-year-old girl in Fargo

The 14-year-old girl was the victim of a random attack outside a Fargo strip mall.

Minneapolis Mayoral Candidates 2021 - jacob frey sheila nezhad kate knuth

Here's who has endorsed the frontrunners for Minneapolis mayor

Politicians and community groups are voicing their opinions.

Related