Interim MNsure director vows transparency, improvements

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Hours after MNsure chief April Todd-Malmlov stepped down from leading the beleaguered new agency, an interim leader promised to increase transparency, reduce call center wait times and fix website glitches, the Pioneer Press reports.

Scott Leitz on Wednesday also apologized to Minnesotans for the state's troubled new health care insurance exchange website.

"We are committed to improving and we will improve," Leitz told reporters at a news conference, FOX 9 reported.

Leitz, an assistant commissioner in the state Department of Human Services, promised to offer the public more real-time information about problems with the MNsure website as the issues occurred.

MNsure has also sought more help from software vendor IBM, which has dispatched about a dozen people to St. Paul, with another 80 expected this week, said MNsure Board of Directors Brian Beutner.

Todd-Malmlov abruptly resigned as executive director of MNsure Tuesday night, after several months of widely publicized problems with the website and lower-than-expected enrollments. Then it was reported that she spent two weeks on vacation in Costa Rica last month as Minnesotans continued to have trouble using the site to sign up for insurance, with a deadline approaching. Monday is the enrollment deadline for Minnesotans who want coverage through MNsure beginning Jan. 1.

Beutner said he did not ask for Todd-Malmlov's resignation and that he regretted her departure. "This was her decision," Beutner said.

Todd-Malmlov, who had been earning $136,680, was given no severance package, the Associated Press reports.

MNsure has been under fire from critics since its launch, initially because users had trouble enrolling for insurance plans through the site. The fledgling agency has been beset by bad publicity on issues ranging from long call-center wait times to a data breach earlier this fall.

Just Tuesday, about 1,000 MNsure users were asked to start over with their applications if they wanted to obtain federal tax credits to reduce their health insurance costs starting next year.

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