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MNsure doesn't expect to sell as many private health plans as previously thought

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MNsure has reduced the number of people it expected to enroll in private health plans in the next two years by 15 percent.

Board members at Minnesota's health exchange Thursday adopted the organization's three-year budget plan, which featured changes to the projections of how many customers will take out private insurance using MNsure by 2017.

It has lowered its sign-up projections for next year from 107,000 to 95,000, and its projections for 2017 down from 152,000 to 130,000.

It comes after the organization, which fulfills the state's Affordable Care Act obligations, fell 6,000 short of the number it had expected to sign up to private plans in the latest round of open enrollment, which ended last month.

Around 61,000 people have enrolled in private plans as of the start of this week, out of more than 163,000 insurance products sold through the exchange in 2014-15. The rest signed up to publicly subsidized programs MinnesotaCare and Medical Assistance.

Impact on budgets

As a result of this year's shortfall and the reduction in future sign-ups, the Star Tribune reports MNsure will generate $3.2 million less revenue over the three years between July 2014 to June 2017.

MNsure is still confident it can attract 35,000 new private customers in each of the next two years.

"MNsure enrolled 37,000 new enrollees for 2015," CEO Scott Leitz said in a press release. "This financial plan is rigorous but also an honest assessment of where we think MNsure will be in 2017."

New deadline to avoid a tax penalty

MNsure has launched another enrollment period, specifically for people who did not have health insurance during 2014.

For the first time, people who did not secure health insurance will be hit with a penalty when they do their tax returns.

MNsure says it can't help anyone to avoid a fine next month, but can help ensure they don't get fined as much next year, when the cost of the penalty doubles.

It is giving people who have had to pay a tax penalty until April 30 to sign up to a health plan for 2015.

More information can be found on the MNsure website.

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