Lawmakers turn up heat on MNsure leaders during Capitol hearing


Minnesota lawmakers grilled leaders of MNsure Thursday in their first opportunity to ask questions since the state health insurance exchange began enrolling customers.

Members of the bipartisan MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee questioned executives about the fundamental revenue structure and a decision last year to downgrade the participation of the lead technology contractor, according to a report in the Star Tribune.

Maximus Inc., a data services firm in Reston, Virginia was initially awarded the job as the general contractor under a $41 million federal grant. The firm specializes in government projects.

The Star Tribune reports the contract was amended last February and MNsure took over management and responsibility for building the website's technical infrastructure.

Lawmakers questioned that decision.

The Star Tribune reports Rep. Joe Hoppe, R-Chaska, asked, "Who OK'd that decision?"

MNsure Board Chair Brian Beutner and interim CEO Scott Leitz said the decisions about Maximus were made before they came on board.

Both indicated their goal has been to improve MNsure going forward, but that is going to take time. FOX 9 reports Beutner told lawmakers MNsure has serious problems and "improvements will take months, not days."

Leitz announced one of those solutions Wednesday when he said MNsure had hired an additional 12 phone operators. They will begin training on Jan. 20.

MNsure Operator Bryan Quirk said he and his colleagues spend between 20 minutes and 1.5 hours helping callers get enrolled for coverage, according to the FOX 9 report.

Leitz warned the committee there would be budgetary impacts from bringing on more call center workers. Beutner said he is not intending to ask the Legislature for more money to pay for the cost overruns.

United Health's Optum has been brought in to assess MNsure. Leitz also told the committee that Optum's review of the problems with MNsure's software, call center and vendor operations should be returned by next week, according to FOX 9.

Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles also began an audit of MNsure this week.

Next Up

northfield community education center

Northfield school fires employee who allegedly gave melatonin to infant

It's against district policies to give a child anything without a parents' permission.

state hockey tournament, mshsl

MSHSL approves 3 calendars to start winter sports as soon as Dec. 21

The start date will depend on whether the state shutdown is lifted.


Drug overdose deaths up 31% in the first half of 2020

Overdose deaths started to increase sharply in March, which coincides with the state-ordered lockdown for the COVID-19 pandemic.

los ocampos

Video: Vehicle crashes into St. Paul restaurant

The fire department is on scene addressing a gas leak.

covid-19, coronavirus

Latest county infection rates are sky-high throughout Minnesota

Kandiyohi County is one of the hardest hit counties in the state.

Jenna Fish

Family's warning after teen's tragic death from CO poisoning at Thanksgiving

A 17-year-old girl from Delano died after Thanksgiving due to carbon monoxide poisoning.


More than $12K donated to MN gym owner who refused to close

The small business is located in town in Wabasha County.

radio station, microphone

MPR, The Current launch new weekly segment called 'The Warming House'

The program will feature feel-good entertainment amid the pandemic.

coronavirus, COVID-19 test

Dec. 3 COVID-19 update: 92 deaths marks MN's 2nd-highest total

The deaths continue to surge amid the worst of the pandemic so far.

mohamed amin bayle idd booking photo

2 men charged in connection to fatal shooting at Bloomington apartment complex

Shakur Freed Muhammed, 22, of Hopkins, was fatally shot Monday morning.

Screen Shot 2020-12-03 at 9.11.36 AM

Hewing Hotel finds workaround to shutdown, delivering 7-course meal to rooms

The hotel will convert guest rooms into dining rooms for three-hour reservations.